The most popular guy on campus, who's been at college for seven years,
meets a journalist who makes him realize he's afraid to graduate.
Van Wilder (2002)
Directed by Walt Becker
Written by Brent Goldberg and David Wagner
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Tara Reid, Kal Penn, Teck Holmes,
Daniel Cosgrove, Tim Matheson, Emily Rutherford,
Paul Gleason, Curtis Armstrong
Van Wilder was a ridiculously unfunny film and a complete waste of time, in my opinion. Nearly every joke falls flat, and the chemistry between Ryan Reynolds and Tara Reid falls even flatter. I'd heard this was a cult comedy in the same arena as Animal House and American Pie, but this was more like one of National Lampoon's direct to DVD bargain binners. The only thing that kept my interest were the various cameos from classic teen comedies, like Tim Matheson from Animal House, Curtis Armstrong from Revenge of the Nerds, and Paul Gleason from The Breakfast Club. Other than that, why bother with this one?
Reynolds plays Van Wilder, the most popular guy on campus who is beloved by everyone because of his heart of gold. He's been at college for seven years because he has a rich father, he's afraid of graduation, and he loves the party lifestyle. But when a journalist (Reid) makes him realize his fears and his feelings for her, Wilder decides to finally finish his schooling. In the meantime, we get a lot of gross-out jokes that don't land and a host of forgettable characters as the film tries to be a sex comedy, but just isn't all that funny.
Reynolds does have a natural charisma on screen that greatly adds to his performance, but even that couldn't save this one. It's just not worth the effort, as by the film's end, I felt like I'd just watched a frat boy's fever dream. It's amazing Reynolds's career didn't evaporate after this film, and I bet he thanks his lucky stars every damn day for Deadpool.