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National Lampoon's Van Wilder Party Liason - Unrated Version
National Lampoon's Van Wilder Party Liason (Soundtrack)

National Lampoon's Van Wilder National Lampoon's Van Wilder Party Liason Review

Directed By: Walt Becker.
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Tara Reid, Tim Matheson, Tom Everett Scott, Alex Burns.

Synopsis: Van Wilder (Ryan Reynolds) might be starting his seventh year at Coolidge College, but graduation is the furthest thing from his mind. Armed with a personal assistant and a coterie of admirers, Van has reached the status of living legend on campus, throwing bashes that make geeks popular, raise money for charity and generally "inspire the uninspired." But when Van's father refuses to pay any more of his son's tuition bills, Van must turn to party planning for profit in order to continue living in under-graduate bliss, thereby becoming the subject of an exposé by disapproving school journalist Gwen Pearson (Tara Reid). What begins as a clash of wills, however, soon leads to unexpected romance as Van and Gwen both realize they have a lot to learn from each other. The only problem: Gwen's self-obsessed, frat house boyfriend, Richard, who's determined, at any cost, to put a stop to Van's rule as campus king.

Review: Mildly amusing...that's it folks...mildly amusing is as good as I can rank this film. I say that because I have lived through Animal House, I have lived through American Pie and I have even lived through Road trip and enjoyed all three...but the amount of BAD campus comedies I have lived through...suffered through...pushed myself through to the end to inevitable is getting to be too much.

This film, like so many others (see Sorority Boys, Slackers and Orange County) of late have had so much potential and never succeed on the level they could have. It is as if the comedy cops are asleep at the switch at the studio...the producers look at the script, find that it has a 'good enough' premise and the now prerequisite gross out moment (Van Wilder has a dog semen joke that is bound to gross out most) and the film goes into production.

What really struck me about Van Wilder was...I wanted to like the film, I really did...I liked the two leads of Ryan Reynolds and Tara Reid and with a better script this really could have been something. So all you teens who usually write in bitching and moaning that I have trashed 'the best comedy you have ever seen' suggestion is see some more comedies...see all of them and realize you are getting short changed by the studios! This their fault, not mine!

John Hughes (once a National Lampoon writer himself) once gave us The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and they were teen comedies with not only great laughs but some truly solid characters that you related to, felt for and laughed with. Animal House, the first National Lampoon comedy that set one of the highest bars of comedy had not only cheap laughs and nudity but you felt for Dorfman, you wanted the Delta Boys to get revenge...and it wasn't just one cheap, sleazy rich guy that your fraternity needed to get back at, but Greg Marmalade, Dean Wormer, and of course the pure evil of Nedermeyer...and I'm not even getting into Fast Times at Ridgemount High with its stellar cast.

Ensemble comedy...not resting the entire film on the shoulders of one individual...even Meatballs, a fraternity film of sorts taking place at a summer camp. Sure Bill Murray carries the film, but there is soul and character there as well. Bill and Chris Makepeace run every morning and then one day, Chris Makepeace, the lonely kid, has to come through and win the camp race.

Comedy comes from many things, sure there can be the shock laugh...but when it stems from character it is the best laugh. And Van Wilder almost...almost hits those moments...some of its best scenes are the simple quiet ones between Van Wilder and the journalist Gwen played by Tara Reid. But they just don't add up to a full film...there are long scenes between laughs.

So sadly, so sadly, I am forced to toss a meek and mild 2 stars at Van Wilder.

Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul

DVD Information:

Special Features:
Deleted Scenes and Outtakes
Over An Hour of 'Van Wilder' Specials
'Sugarcult' Music Video

The DVD Review:
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Evil Ash

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