'National Lampoon's Van Wilder'
Friday, April 5, 2002
As the house lights came up after a recent screening of the execrable "National Lampoon's Van Wilder," a shaken-looking woman observed, with remarkable understatement: "There were a couple of things there I could have done without." I wonder what she was referring to? Could it have been the scene in which collegiate wastrel and B.M.O.C. Van Wilder (bland, no-talent Ryan Reynolds, making the leap from TV's "Two Guys and a Girl") and his band of merry men masturbate a bulldog, filling a basket of eclairs with his . . . well, you know? Or maybe she meant the scene immediately following, in which Van's arch-enemy, stuffed-shirt frat boy Richard Bagg (Daniel Cosgrove) eats said eclairs. No, it must have been the scene where Richard, after having downed a milkshake-size laxative, defecates loudly and at great length into a wastepaper basket. Ho ho! Funny stuff, but not half as funny as the jokes at the expense of the old, the fat, the infirm, foreigners and women. With a plot ostensibly following the exertions of Van, a perpetual party-hardy undergrad with 13 semesters (and counting) under his belt, to stay in school after his father (Tim Matheson) cuts him off, the movie is really just an elaborate excuse to show repeated close-ups of an elephantine dog scrotum, a godawful sight gag that director Walt Becker gets more mileage out of than a Honda Insight.