When the Farrelly brothers started making movies that pushed the boundaries of good taste, and very often stepped right over them, they were pioneers of sorts. They made common the use of explosive diarrhea and seminal fluid as punch lines. As with many films that break new ground, they have had a few impersonators, namely the American Pie series.
None of these movies should be considered exceptionally valuable to the overall cinematic legacy, but the newest addition, “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder,” has done its best to steal every old and tired bit without any cause for celebration. The movie is a casting call of sorts for every stupid sophomoric gag (and it will make you gag) ever printed on celluloid.
The film stars Ryan Reynolds, whose previous works include “Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place” and the most unintentionally funny teen soap opera ever made for Nickelodeon, “Fifteen.” “Fifteen” was a great reason to go home after school during my freshman year of high school. The dialogue was ludicrous and the production was extremely low rent. If that disaster of television programming ever comes out on video it should be watched again and again.
“Van Wilder,” however, should not be watched at all. While “Fifteen” was awful, at least it was funny. This cannot be said for the newest addition to the National Lampoon legacy.
The movie is about the best Big Man on Campus ever, Van Wilder, played by Reynolds. Wilder is in his seventh year of college with no sign of graduation in sight. When his absentee, but very wealthy, father realizes that Van has yet to don a cap and gown after nearly a decade he decides to stop paying his son’s tuition. Now Van must find a way to maintain his professional student status without a benefactor.
Coincidentally there are some nerdy students who are willing to pay him to throw parties.
With all this attention drawn to Wilder because of his zany antics, he attracts the interest of a serious student journalist played by Tara Reid. Reid uses her usual two-expression brand of acting to create an air of sophistication and just plain smarts. Her job is to get to the bottom of this wild man and write a touching personal interest story about him.
The only redeeming quality in the entire film is Reynolds. He has a sharp delivery and a perfect sense of comic timing. However, this does nothing to save the movie. Wait to see Reynolds in something else because the vomit-inducing, gross-out humor in this film is not worth it.
On another note, if you do go see this movie, please be aware that near the end Reid begins to look a little like E.T. without the pot belly. While this is not that alarming, the fact that many of the young men in the theater found this to be a cause for shouts and cat calls was. Please ladies try to remember that if you put in the kind of time that Miss Reid does in the tanning bed you will look like a leather purse.