Film Review: 'Van Wilder' proves to be a slacker

    “”National Lampoon’s Van Wilder,”” the latest comedy to bear the hallowed “”National Lampoon”” title, falls short of the lofty bar set by its predecessors, but still offers audiences an entertaining 90-minute ride.

    Up-and-coming filmmaker Walt Becker weaves the story of Van Wilder (Ryan Reynolds), a seventh-year college super-senior who refuses to move on and graduate.

    A selfless guy always willing to lend a hand to his fellow students, Van is revered as the king of the school. That is, until Van’s father (Tim Matheson) decides to cut off Van’s tuition to get him motivated, forcing Van to find a way to make tuition payments or get thrown out of school.

    With the help of his friends Hutch (Teck Holmes) and Taj (Kal Penn), Van must deal with prying reporter Gwen (Tara Reid) while trying to raise money and finally graduate.

    The movie is filled with crude humor and disgusting sight gags that will make the pie scene in “”American Pie”” look about as gross as a stop sign. Despite invoking a strong gag reflex, the scenes are very funny.

    What ultimately drags this movie down is its lack of depth. Aside from Van, the audience never really gets a chance to connect to any of the other characters.

    Reynolds does manage to give a great comedic performance that shows glimpses of a future comic star. Reynolds has a commanding presence on the big screen that allows him to take control of every scene that he is in. The audience cannot help but make a special place in their hearts for Reynolds.

    The rest of the cast is very dry with few exceptions. There are memorable cameos from such notable stars as Matheson and Curtis Armstrong.

    With Reynolds in the lead and plenty of memorable scenes, this movie had the potential to be great, but its lack of any true depth has relegated it to a movie that is fun, but nothing more.

    Van Wilder

    ***

    Starring Ryan Reynolds, Teck Holmes and Tara Reid

    In theaters April 5

    Rated R

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