National Lampoon’s Van Wilder
— The Unrated Version —
Genre(s): Comedy, Romance
Lionsgate | Unrated – 94 min. – $22.99 | August 14, 2018
Date Published: 08/11/2018 | Author: The Movieman
Lionsgate provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.
THE MOVIE — 3.5/5
Plot Synopsis: Van Wilder (RYAN REYNOLDS) is a 7th-year student at prestigious Coolidge College who has no plans to graduate. Life is good for Van: he’s got a coed in every closet and a party to go to every night. His slick reputation even catches the eye of sexy Gwen Pearson (TARA REID), an on-campus reporter assigned to do a story and find the truth behind his wild exterior. When Gwen enters his life and his father stops paying his tuition, could Van’s days as the king of the college be over?
Quick Hit Review: It’s been a good decade since I last saw Van Wilder and from my memory, I wasn’t very fond of it placing it right beside the numerous other movies that paid to have the “National Lampoon’s” label placed atop the title. I don’t know if it this film hit me at the right time or perhaps a newfound appreciation for its star Ryan Reynolds, but I did find myself laughing quite a bit throughout.
Now, even by gross-out comedy standards, is this some sort of classic? Of course not, I still prefer the likes of American Pie 1 & 2, There’s Something About Mary or even another Reynolds’s film, Waiting… However, Van Wilder is a lot of fun and is propelled less so on any memorable lines but instead of the stars charm alongside Kal Penn’s breakout performance (that sadly also led to the ill-advised sequel, Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj).
Van Wilder was directed by Walt Becker, whose career is comprised of Wild Hogs (a comedy I actually did like), Old Dogs (so-so comedy) and… kill me now… Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip with a script from Brent Goldberg and David T. Wagner (The Girl Next Door, which has become a bit of an underrated classic of sorts). Neither aspect, direction and writing, are the highlights of this film but it is well paced and has a fine story at its core, but like I said, Reynolds carries it.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.0/5
This release comes with a semi-glossy slip cover. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. All of the features from the original Blu-ray have been ported over and other than two interactive games, are available on the 4K disc.
Commentary – This is described as a “Sweet Drunken Idiot Kommentary” and, well, it’s just that. A bunch of random dudes just talk. No idea who the hell they are nor do I care. Skip.
Party Legends, Pledges, and “Bull”-ies (15:56; SD) is a making-of featurette with interviews by the cast and crew.
Ultimate College Party Guide (5:00; SD) gives tips on throwing a college party.
Gwen-ezuma’s Revenge (7:36; SD) describes what happens when you drink a certain drink which the Gwen character gave to her a-hole boyfriend. Why is this a feature?
Testicles of the Animal Kingdom is a multiple choice test interactive quiz. (BD Only)
Write That Down are quotes from and inspired by the film.
Blu-Book Exam is another interactive quiz feature which did not really work on my player.
Music Video (2:26; SD) – “Bounce Off the Walls” by Sugarcult
Deleted Scenes (8:59; SD) – Here are a several scenes that were trimmed or didn’t make the cut altogether.
Outtakes (12:24; SD) containing plenty of flubbed lines.
Burly TV Specials (43:58; SD):
These are specials on variety shows featuring appearances by Ryan Reynolds and Tara Reid. “Half Baked” in particular looked like it came from the 1990s with the awful yet laughable graphics.
Comedy Central’s ‘Reel Comedy: National Lampoon’s Van Wilder’ (21:08; SD) another TV special made to advertise the movie.
VIDEO – 3.0/5
|Van Wilder is presented in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and a 2160p high-definition transfer. I am of two minds when it comes to the picture quality on this 4K UHD. On the one hand, the original Blu-ray, from what I can tell, appeared to be DNR’d to death and then over-sharpened and enhanced; on the other hand, this is got to be one of the more underwhelming 4K titles I’ve come across where colors are rather drab and the film itself lifeless in spots, so clearly the HDR, although some scenes did have modest pop in color, wasn’t fully utilized, or the movie itself just doesn’t lend itself to be a brilliant looking 4K title. That being said, most of the movie does show off sharp and nicely defined detail so in that regard, it is a modest step up from the Blu-ray.|
AUDIO – 4.0/5
|The disc comes with a Dolby Atmos track which is probably only a slight upgrade over the Blu-ray’s PCM 7.1 track. Even so, it is a bit strong for a comedy as you’re really not a huge benefit outside of some of the ambient noises such as the music playing in the background during the ice skating scene. Otherwise, dialogue levels are clear and there is some ever so modest depth.|
OVERALL – 3.25/5
Overall, Van Wilder is not some modern comedy classic by any stretch but I did manage to laugh a few times at the juvenile humor and Ryan Reynolds’s style of humor was great. This is, as low of a standard as it is, one of the better of the later “National Lampoon’s” meaningless name stamped on. This 4K release offers up an improved, if not still flawed, transfer and good audio, while the bonus material was mostly throwaway stuff, nothing more so than the commentary.
The screen captures came from the Blu-ray copy and are here to add visuals to the review and do not represent the 4K video.