tek's rating:

National Lampoon's Van Wilder (R / unrated)
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This came out in 2002, but I didn't see it til 2013. Actually, I don't remember when or where or why I got this DVD. It's certainly not something I ever had much interest in seeing, because it's a raunchy comedy, and I'm not really a fan of raunchy comedies. Also I'm not particularly familiar with the whole National Lampoon series, or whatever, but I kind of figured this was not one of the most shining entries in the franchise. Or whatever. But I finally did watch it, and it didn't suck as much as I feared it would. The movie is fairly rife with cliches of the genre, but it's clear that everyone involved had fun playing with those cliches. And the whole cast did a good job, particularly the always charming Ryan Reynolds as the title character.

Anyway, Van Wilder is a smart guy who's afraid of real life, so he's avoided graduating from college, even though he easily could. At the start of the movie, he's entering his seventh year in college, where he apparently intends to stay pretty much forever (mostly because he has so much fun there). He's loved by all his fellow students, and he's something of a legend. His best friend is a guy named Hutch, I guess, though he seems to be of minimal importance to the plot. Van interviews for an assistant, and ends up hiring a transfer student named Taj (Kal Penn), who has come from India with the main goal of losing his virginity. Meanwhile, there's a reporter for what I think is a student newspaper, Gwen Pearson (Tara Reid). Her editor wants her to do a story on Van, though Van doesn't seem interested in being a story. Of course the two of them don't hit it off at first, though it's obvious they'll end up together, because that's how movies work. But she's got a boyfriend named Richard, a pre-med student who is also the head of his fraternity, which appropriately enough has the initials DIK. Of course, with Gwen spending all her time trying to do a story on Van, Richard becomes jealous, and therefore becomes Van's nemesis. (Van's father is also vaguely a problem for Van, and so is a teacher named McDougal, though these roles are not really as formulaic as you might expect.)

I don't want to reveal any more of the plot than that. Most of it is predictable, and juvenile, and disgusting, and not my kind of movie at all. But there were some things that were a bit unexpected, and some things I actually found amusing. And I guess there was a bit of heart underneath it all. Sort of. So it wasn't a complete waste of time, though I have no plans to ever watch it again. And I should say there's also a sequel and a prequel, neither of which I expect to ever see.

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