National Lampoon's Van Wilder
** BM
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Tara Reid, Kal Penn, Paul Gleason, Tim Matheson, Daniel Cosgrove, Tom Everett Scott


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There's no way anyone could go into this film expecting it to be great. Judging from the glut of gross-out sex comedies recently, there's really no way anyone could go into this movie thinking it would be anything out of the ordinary. Those low expectations are barely met.

Van Wilder (Reynolds) is a seventh-year college student that everyone seems to worship rather than look upon as a pathetic loser desperately clinging to his party lifestyle. That's mistake number one. Seventh-year undergrads aren't revered. They're more likely to be looked at out of the corners of eyes with a slightly disgusted grimace and perhaps a 'tsk tsk.'

Then Van's dad realizes he's still in school - apparently being filthy rich means you don't even notice that you're still paying your son's tuition fees after seven years. So he cuts Van off, forcing him to start planning parties for cash. Then when boring Gwen (Tara Reid) is assigned by her boss at the school paper (Tom Everett Scott, whose bit-part presence mystifies me, as he should be working on becoming the next Campbell Scott) to do a story on Van, she becomes drawn to him because she's dating a ridiculous asshole (Cosgrove) and Van starts to feel inspired to actually graduate. In the meantime, of course, are plenty of hijinks... or middlejinks, to be more precise.

Now I never watched "Two Jackasses, A Twat and a Popsicle Stand," but I was prepared to be annoyed with Reynolds on principle. To my surprise/dismay, I found his performance to be kinda likable, actually, in a definite Chevy Chase sort of way. However, the inexplicably famous Tara Reid has the charisma of a pile of wet rope, and therefore Van's transformation into a guy with a goal in his life is rendered pretty much unbelievable, since all Gwen has going for her is a rail-thin anorexia body, and Van, being a party animal kind of guy, could have his pick of chicks that are infinitely more interesting.

Trouble is, the rest of the flick isn't that great. Cosgrove is funny at times as the blatant asshole prick, but there ain't much else happening, and the jokes aren't really that well put-together. Paul Gleason has a good line toward the end of the film, but that's simply because it came out of nowhere and my expectations had been dulled by the rest of the film. But really, a guy walking into a guy's room and saying "Nice place... decorated in Early Fuck" is always funny.

That's about it. There's a whole scene about dog jizz that people might mention a lot of, but that would mean they'd have to be talking about this film, which probably won't happen, since it's completely forgettable.

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