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Van Wilder
DVD disk
Oct 8, 2004 By: Scott Weinberg
Van Wilder order
Director:
Walt Becker

Actors:
Ryan Reynolds
Tara Reid
Tim Matheson

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Not a whole helluva lot! Van Wilder is enjoying his 7th year of undergrad experience, and when his rich Daddy pulls the plug, a whole gaggle of cheerleaders, goofballs, and slobs pour out of the woodwork to help Van stay in school.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Even when compared the worst teenage flotsam released this year (i.e. Sorority Boys, The New Guy), Van Wilder rates pretty low. I watched it in a good mood, and counted how many times the flick earned a solid laugh from me. When the movie was 85 minutes in, and Id laughed only twice, thats not a real good sign. But a dearth of laughs alone doesnt make a movie awful, right? Well, then take a look at the wretched acting performances, the direction by Walt Becker (which is alternately confused, bland, and obvious) and the stunning way the movie clings so desperately to its unending collection of racial stereotypes, college-flick cliches, and 65-year-old plot contrivances. Yet all of those shortcomings could be forgiven if only the movie were funny. Alas, Van Wilder is just another assembly-line teenage product that was created with little or no concept of plot, humor, or originality. The lead here is Ryan Reynolds, a seemingly likeable enough actor who irritatingly mugs his way through the entire movie while offering a casual impersonation of Chevy Chase circa Caddyshack. Reynolds isnt terrible; hes just 100% glib and not much more.

Faring even more embarrassingly is that American Pie gal Tara Reid as Vans waifish love interest (When an actress cant even articulate the emotion horny, youre looking at a bad actress). If youre a fan of generally cool actors humiliating themselves for a check, youll no doubt delight in the myopic appearances of Tim Matheson, Paul Gleason and Curtis Armstrong. Look, this movie considers it funny that Erik Estrada showed up for a cameo. Erik Estrada! Not at all surprisingly, the writers realizing that theyve been stealing concepts whole from other (and better) comedies opt late in the game to offer up Hollywoods newest staple: the oh my GOD is that disgusting gross-out gag. This time around the grossout gag involves a bulldogs semen and a lot of donuts. If the description of that gag sounds like the pinnacle of all things hilarious, you should immediately run out and buy this DVD. Ah, and dont go for all that National Lampoon stuff, either. The producers of Van Wilder (much like the producers of Senior Trip or those of any NL movie you may see on late-night cable) leased the National Lampoon label from the publication after the movie was already in the can waiting for release. All this in an attempt to somehow place this disposable yawnfest in the same league as the legendary Animal House. That kind of logic in infinitely more amusing than anything youll find in this lifeless farce.
THE EXTRAS
You gotta give Artisan Home Entertainment some credit for trying to bury this dungheap underneath a LOT of DVD bells and whistles. But since any feature that exists solely to support this turgid movie already has two strikes against it, take the following descriptions with a grain of salt: First off, this DVD has bare tits in it. Woop. As if anyone with an Internet connection cant get two cupfuls of bare knockers whenever they want to. The DVD producers gleefully pander along with the movies sophomoric tone, and the DVD menus are logically presented in front of two jouncing jugs (Yes, the gal takes her shirt off when you click on various menu options. Surely this is a massive leap forward in DVD technology).

Comedy Centrals Reel Comedy: Van Wilder is a brief puff-piece/interview/promo thing with no bare breasts whatsoever. You can logically conclude that this is a waste of time. The Music of Van Wilder is a collection of music tracks from the movie, or as I like to call these things: a commercial for the soundtrack. Theres an extensive compilation of ten deleted scenes, proof positive that if you shave a piece of crap youre still left with a skinnier piece of crap. Also included are twelve outtakes, which are about as dry and unfunny as any outtakes youre ever likely to see. We have a few featurettes labeled as Burly Bear Specials: Impostor, Half Baked, and Movie Junkie. All three are nothing more than various forms of promotional materials, delivered in that mercenary sell this movie at any cost attitude so prevalent these days. If I explained that one has Reynolds and Reid cooking together and another features interviews given by a 14-year-old, does that make sitting through them sound more or less enjoyable? I leave it to you to decide.

But since this turkey is somehow supported by a TWO-disc DVD set, you can expect a whole lot more hot air: three theatrical trailers, three TV spots, an Artisan trailer gallery, a poster gallery, the Van Wilder Files production notes, and the requisite music video, this time featuring Sugarcults Bouncing off the Walls. Eagle-eyed tit freaks will enjoy scouring the menus for the various Easter Eggs that I didnt search for. Just knowing that theres even more Van Wilder material hidden on the disc is enough for me, thanks very much.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
As nice as it is to see that DVD studios will support really BAD movies with overflowing DVD packages, its sad to see that this much attention had to be paid to Van Wilder. Whats next? The Porkys Revenge: Ultimate Edition?
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