Reviews

Van Wilder: Party Liaison

3

You know that supermarket own-brand microwave meal you find in the fridge late on a Saturday night? The one that's past its sell-by date, but still a long way from rotten? The one that you munch down, kinda enjoy at the time but don't really want to shape a whole diet around? Cinematically, that's Van Wilder: Party Liaison...

A college-set gross-out movie, it spins happily around the antics of eternal student Van (Ryan Reynolds). Starved of cash when his Dad realises that Wilder Jr has been dossing for seven years, Van's forced to earn a living by turning his fun-loving lifestyle into a career as a professional party organiser. Trouble is, that attracts the attentions of hotshot campus journo Gwen (Tara Reid) and her jealous boyfriend Richard (Daniel Cosgrove)...

The usual predictable parade of jocks, preppies, nerds and babes stroll by, the gags veer from the lame to the so-funny-you-nearly-vomit (trust us, you really will never eat another chocolate eclair again...) and the whole thing vanishes from your mental digestive system by the next day.

What gives it a bit more spice is the tasty pairing of Reid and Reynolds. Reid can play this kind of goodie-goodie in her sleep, mixing convent girl respectability with flashes of the kind of raw-edged sexuality that could give a vicar sleepless nights. Reynolds, meanwhile, is good-looking, funny and has enough goofy charm to make you forgive Van's moments of outrageous smugness.

A middle-of-the-road effort from the National Lampoon stable it may be, but even if Van Wilder... never lives up to the rep of ancestors like Animal House or Vacation, it's still a perfectly enjoyable time-waster.

Verdict:

Tara Reid has done better and the chirpily charming Ryan Reynolds will do better, but neither need be ashamed of this fast-food fun. See, laugh, forget.

Film Details

  • 15
  • UK Theatrical Release Date: September 27th 2002

User Reviews

    • bassthing

      Jul 5th 2009, 10:42

      4

      I shall admit from the beginning of this review that I was seduced by Van Wilder (or should I say Ryan Reynolds) from the start. For me he plays the role of a man-child not wanting to leave university perfectly. The character of Van could have so easily been an unlikeable, unlovable idiot in the wrong actors hands, but Reynolds injects charm and a Jim Carreyesq humour that works. Admittedly this is not Shakespeare, and I’m sure it wouldn’t surprise British viewers that this was produced as another National Lampoon movie in the US. But the chemistry between Van and the love interest is believable and sweet. There are some genuinely funny one liners, the usual gross out gags (one that nearly made me gag!), and the overall tone of the film is a good natured 80’s style teen comedy. If Van Wilder was liaising a party near me, I’d be there in a shot.

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