Van Wilder

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For the Dutch musician, see Philip van Wilder.
National Lampoon's
Van Wilder
National Lampoon's Van Wilder Poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Walt Becker
Produced by
Written by
  • Brent Goldberg
  • David T. Wagner
Music by David Lawrence
Cinematography James Bagdonas
Edited by Dennis M. Hill
Distributed by Artisan Entertainment
Release dates
  • April 5, 2002 (2002-04-05)
Running time
93 minutes[1]
  • Germany
  • United States
Language English
Budget $5 million[2]
Box office $38.3 million[2]

National Lampoon's Van Wilder (released internationally as Van Wilder: Party Liaison) is a 2002 German-American romantic comedy film directed by Walt Becker and written by Brent Goldberg and David T. Wagner. The film stars Ryan Reynolds as the title character alongside Tara Reid, Kal Penn, and Tim Matheson.


Van Wilder (Ryan Reynolds) is an extremely popular student at Coolidge College who has been in school 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. When Van's father (Tim Matheson) discovers that Van is still in college, however, he decides to stop paying Van's tuition.

Meanwhile, Gwen Pearson (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 "Dick" Bagg (Daniel Cosgrove). Van and Richard dislike each other immediately, and perform increasingly disgusting pranks on each other. In one infamous scene, Van and his friends replace the cream inside some pastries with semen from Van's pet bulldog, Colossus, and send them to Richard's fraternity, where the frat brothers do not realize what they are eating until it is too late.

At one point, Richard has sex 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" while disgusting the other test-takers with frequent flatulence. Afterwards, just as he's about to reach 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 a party, where his father and Gwen congratulate him.

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, but Taj accidentally sets himself on fire with massage oil. At the end of the film, Taj meets an attractive Indian girl (Teesha Lobo), and it seems like they are going to hit it off.



National Lampoon's Van Wilder
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released 26 March 2002
Recorded 2000, 2001
Genre Soundtrack
Length 45:42
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.

  1. "Roll On" - The Living End (Chris Cheney)
  2. "Bleed American" - Jimmy Eat World (Jimmy Eat World)
  3. "Hit the Ground" - 6gig (6gig)
  4. "Bouncing Off the Walls" - Sugarcult (Sugarcult)
  5. "I'm a Fool" - American Hi-Fi (Stacy Jones)
  6. "Girl On the Roof" - David Mead
  7. "Things Are Getting Better" - N*E*R*D (Chad Hugo, Pharrell)
  8. "Okay" - Swirl 360 (Kenny & Denny Scott, Tonio K)
  9. "Blind Spot" - Transmatic (Transmatic)
  10. "Makes No Difference" - Sum 41 (Sum 41)
  11. "At Auntie Tom's" - Fuzz Townshend (Fuzz Townshend, Matt Machin, Roger Charlery)
  12. "Little Man (2002 Mix)" - Sia (Sia Furler, Sam Frank)
  13. "Start Over" - Abandoned Pools (Tommy Walter, Pete Pagonis)
  14. "You Get Me" - Michelle Branch (Michelle Branch)


Box office[edit]

Van Wilder opened with $7,302,913, ranking number 6 in the domestic box office. It grossed $21,305,259 domestically with $16,970,224 overseas for a worldwide total of $38,275,483. Based on a $5 million budget, the film was a box office success.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received negative reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 19% based on 96 reviews. The critics describe the film as being "A derivative gross-out comedy that's short on laughs."[3] On Metacritic, the film has a 26 out of 100 score based on 24 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[4]

Home media[edit]

Despite being theatrically released from Lions Gate Films, Van Wilder was released via VHS and DVD by Artisan Entertainment 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 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 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.



A sequel, entitled The Rise of Taj, followed this, centering on the character of Taj Mahal Badalandabad (Kal Penn); the film was released theatrically in 2006.


A direct-to-DVD prequel to this film was also released in 2009, entitled Freshman Year; the film follows Van (Jonathan Bennett) as he deals with his freshman year of college.


External links[edit]