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Theatrical release poster
|National Lampoon's Van Wilder|
|Directed by||Walt Becker|
|Produced by||Peter Abrams
Robert L. Levy
|Written by||Brent Goldberg
David T. Wagner
|Editing by||Dennis M. Hill|
|Distributed by||Lions Gate Films (Theatrical)
Artisan Entertainment (DVD)
|Running time||92 minutes
94 minutes (Unrated cut)
National Lampoon's Van Wilder is a 2002 film directed by Walt Becker that stars Ryan Reynolds as the film's notoriously good-looking playboy protagonist, Van Wilder. The film also stars Kal Penn, Tara Reid, and Daniel Cosgrove. It features Sophia Bush's acting debut.
Van Wilder (Ryan Reynolds) is an outgoing, friendly, and extremely popular student who has been at Coolidge College for seven years. For the past six semesters, he has made no effort to graduate, instead spending his time organizing parties and fundraisers, doing charity work, helping other students, and posing for figure drawing classes. But after seven years, with no return on his investment, Van's father (Tim Matheson) decides it is time to cut his losses and stops paying Van's tuition.
Meanwhile, Gwen (Tara Reid), a star reporter for the student newspaper, is asked to do an article on Van. It proves to be so popular that she is asked to write a follow-up article for the front page of the graduation issue. Although that would be a big win, she is rather put off when Van interprets her attempts to schedule interviews as romantic advances—when she already has a boyfriend, Richard Bagg (Daniel Cosgrove), who happens to be the president of the student union and the leader of a fraternity. He takes personal offense at Van's attempts to steal his girlfriend, and becomes very stressed out at having to deal with this burden on top of preparing for medical school and leading the Delta Iota Kappa (DIK) fraternity. Subsequently, a rivalry develops between the two men.
The rivalry grows as they perform increasingly disgusting pranks on each other. For instance, one scene involves Richard inviting Van over to a dinner with him and Gwen's family to prove a point about Van's lackadaisical attitude towards life (in which Gwen's parents are only pleased by Van's easygoing attitude, and Gwen, increasingly turned off by Richard's stress, only feels that Richard's actions were too underhanded.) In one infamous scene, Van and his friends replace the cream inside some pastries with dog semen and send them to Richard's fraternity, where the frat brothers begin eating and do not realize what it really is until it is too late.
At one point, Richard has intercourse with another woman from a sister sorority, which would be the final straw for Gwen later on. Richard also sets up Van at one of his own parties in which there are some (very) underage drinkers and reports it to the police, which leads to Van almost being expelled. However, Van proposes an alternative punishment: that the school force him to complete a semester's worth of work in the six days remaining, and then graduate. The committee agrees to this by a three-to-two decision.
Gwen is impressed that Van is taking the initiative to get his life together. She then learns of Richard's setting up of Van, as well as his infidelity, and decides to take retribution. On the morning of Richard's MCAT and interview with Northwestern Medical School, Gwen laces his ritualistic protein shake with a powerful laxative. Since there are no bathroom breaks allowed during the test, Richard rushes through the 2-hour exam in 20 minutes, "dialing down the middle" towards the end and disgusting the other test-takers with frequent flatulence. Afterwards, just as he reaches the bathroom, he unexpectedly runs into the medical school interview committee. They pull him aside into an office to begin the interview and Richard ends up defecating explosively into a trash can while in their presence. He is briefly seen again in the film, reading Gwen's article in the school paper in the bathroom (presumably, his medical school dreams are ruined, as he mentions to Van in a deleted scene). Meanwhile, Van does well on his finals and celebrates his graduation with Gwen.
A subplot depicts the saga of Taj Mahal Badalandabad (Kal Penn), an Indian foreign exchange student who is accepted (out of many "talented" applicants) to be Van's personal assistant. The main reason for his application for this position, Taj explains, is he wants to have sex with an American girl before he goes home. He meets a girl named Naomi (Ivana Bozilovic), and Van pushes Taj to go for her ("Naomi- that's 'I moan' backwards," Van explains) but Taj accidentally sets himself on fire with massage oil. At the end of the film, Taj meets another Indian girl, and it seems like they are going to hit it off.
- Ryan Reynolds as Van Wilder
- Tara Reid as Gwen Pearson
- Kal Penn as Taj Mahal Badalandabad
- Tim Matheson as Vance Wilder, Sr.
- Paul Gleason as Professor McDougal
- Daniel Cosgrove as Richard "Dick" Bagg
- Teck Holmes as Hutch
- Emily Rutherfurd as Jeannie
- Curtis Armstrong as Campus Cop
- Deon Richmond as "Mini Cochran"
- Alex Burns as Gordon
- Chris Owen as Timmy
- Ivana Božilović as Naomi
- Sophia Bush as Sally
- Simon Helberg as Vernon
- Quentin Richardson as Q
- Michael Olowokandi as Leron
- Darius Miles as Darius
- Erik Estrada as Himself
- Edie McClurg as Campus Tour Guide
- Michael Waltman as Coach Ken Massey
- Aaron Paul as Wasted Guy
- Teresa Hill as Hot Female Doctor
- Tom Everett Scott (uncredited) as Elliot Grebb
- Walt Becker (uncredited) as Fireman
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|National Lampoon's Van Wilder|
|Soundtrack album by Various Artists|
|Released||26 March 2002|
|Label||Ultimatum Records, Artemis Records|
|Producer||Gwen Bethel Riley and Chris Violette|
The soundtrack album was released on March 26, 2002. It omits the song Hello by Sugarbomb, Authority Song by Jimmy Eat World, and Stuck In America by Sugarcult. Other artists with songs omitted from the soundtrack included Atomic Kitten, Michelle Branch, Sprung Monkey, Bird 3, Spymob, Mint Royale, and Tahiti 80.
- "Roll On" - The Living End (Chris Cheney)
- "Bleed American" - Jimmy Eat World (Jimmy Eat World)
- "Hit The Ground" - 6gig (6gig)
- "Bouncing Off The Walls" - Sugarcult (Sugarcult)
- "I'm a Fool" - American Hi-Fi (Stacy Jones)
- "Girl On the Roof" - David Mead
- "Things Are Getting Better" - N*E*R*D (Chad Hugo, Pharrell)
- "Okay" - Swirl 360 (Kenny & Denny Scott, Tonio K)
- "Blind Spot" - Transmatic (Transmatic)
- "Makes No Difference" - Sum 41 (Sum 41)
- "At Auntie Tom's" - Fuzz Townshend (Fuzz Townshend, Matt Machin, Roger Charlery)
- "Little Man (2002 mix)" - Sia (Sia Furler, Sam Frank)
- "Start Over" - Abandoned Pools (Tommy Walter, Pete Pagonis)
- "You Get Me" - Michelle Branch (Michelle Branch)
The film was panned by critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 18% based on 87 reviews.
The critics describe the movie as being "A derivative gross-out comedy that's short on laughs"
- Budget - $5 million
- Marketing cost - $15 million
- Opening Weekend Gross (Domestic) - $7,302,913
- Total Domestic Grosses - $21,305,259
- Total Overseas Grosses - $16,970,224
- Total Worldwide Grosses - $38,275,483
Van Wilder was released by Artisan Entertainment on VHS and DVD on August 20, 2002. The DVD was presented in rated and unrated editions, both editions containing a cropped full-frame transfer, and a widescreen version in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The two-disc set also contained interactive topless menus featuring model Ivana Bozilovic, who is "Naomi" in the film. With each new menu, she would take her shirt off and put another shirt on with different options on it. Bonuses included deleted scenes, outtakes, three Burly Bear TV specials, a Comedy Central: Reel Comedy TV special, "Bouncing Off The Walls" music video performed by Sugarcult, trailers and other promotional material like television ads and poster art.
On November 28, 2006, in a way of promoting the sequel to Van Wilder, The Rise of Taj, Lions Gate Home Entertainment released a 2-disc special edition DVD with new bonus features including a "Drunken Idiot Kommentary" (featuring National Lampoon editors Steven Brykman and Mason Brown), behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with the cast and crew. The re-release did not include the topless menus from the previous set.
The film was also released on Blu-ray on August 21, 2007 which had almost the same features as the 2-disc special edititon DVD. Also included (and exclusive to the Blu-ray edition) is the "Blu-Book Exam", an interactive game that focuses on Van Wilder trivia questions, plus a series of "Blu-line" options including a pop-up film-progression menu that allows you to set bookmarks and skip around the feature film.
- Van Wilder at the Internet Movie Database
- Van Wilder at AllMovie
- Van Wilder at Box Office Mojo
- Van Wilder soundtrack Questions, answers and other music information.