Van Wilder is known all through campus, and there are longer lines to become his assistant than there are to register at Collidge College, the school that Wilder (Ryan Reynolds) has spent the last 7 years of his life attending. He throws the best parties, gets the hottest girls, and helps everyone around him, but no-one is able to pierce his exterior of offhand remarks, one-liners and witty quips to get at the man beneath. So who is Van Wilder? That’s exactly what Collidge College reporter Gwen Pearson (Tara Reid) is tasked to find out. Gwen would rather be writing about fair trade and human rights, and resents being put on what to her appears as a fluff piece. However, she is tantalized by the opportunity of a front page story on the grad issue of the newspaper, and sets out to interview the man behind the famous name.
Wilder has more problems than just Gwen and her boyfriend- after 7 years, his gravy train has finally dried up. His rich father (Tim Matheson) decides that Wilder is never going to graduate, and decides to stop paying his tuition. Considering this movie takes place in the USA in 2002, that amounts to roughly 30 grand a semester. Wilder has to make some serious cash fast, but the only skills he has are networking, helping others, and throwing amazing parties.Wilder has a knack for trying to turn Gwen’s interviews into dates, and she rebuffs him initially considering her pre-med arrogant bastard of a boyfriend Richard Bagg (Daniel Cosgrove) who is more interested in becoming a snobby doctor than caring about Gwen. You’re too good for him, Gwen! Gwen initially thinks of Wilder as a buffoon, but as she starts to get to know him she realizes that he is more than just partying- Wilder has spent countless hours helping charities and the athletic departments of the school.
While Van Wilder is a classic R rated college comedy, featuring all of the sex, partying, and lewd pranks that we all come to expect, it actually had me caring about the future of Wilder. While some may view this film as juvenile, especially during some of the infamous pranks that Wilder plays, there is more to it than vulgarity. Even those who might not like all college comedies might want to give Wilder a try- just be prepared for scantily (if at all) clad women, plenty of drug and alcohol use, and some gross-out gags.Wilder is helped in his dilemma by his ultra cool roommate and his assistant. His assistant Taj Mahal Badalandabad is one of my favourite characters in the movie, played by none other than Kal Penn. If you are wondering who that is, he’s the guy who played Kumar in the famous Harold and Kumar films. Taj has one mission in the US, to perform cunningulus on a willing woman. Wilder is exactly the person to help him on his quest, and Taj’s exploits with the women are a running subplot in the movie.