National Lampoon's Van Wilder

 
The grossest, most disgusting humor imaginable.
  • Review Date: April 28, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

What parents need to know

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

Extremely explicit sexual references and situations.

Language

Extremely strong language.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking and drug use portrayed as harmless fun for those over 18.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has the grossest and most disgusting humor imaginable, involving every possible bodily function. There are extended jokes about the size of a dog's testicles. Characters drink to excess. Van's beneficence includes getting compliant girls for boys who would otherwise not have anyone to have sex with.

What's the story?

In NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VAN WILDER, college slacker Van Wilder (Ryan Reynolds), the big man on campus for seven years. His father (Tim Matheson) pulls the financial plug, and Van has to find a way to pay his tuition so that he can stay on for more of what he loves about college – parties. So, like any enterprising young man, he starts up a business: Topless Tutors. It is wildly successful until the strip club owner decides he wants his dancers back. Van finally finds his true calling in life – he's a party planner with a specialty in debauchery, sort of Martha Stewart crossed with Hugh Hefner. Meanwhile, intrepid campus reporter Gwen (Tara Reid) decides to write about Van. Despite the fact that she has a pre-med frat-president boyfriend, she finds herself drawn to him. And despite the fact that Van has spent seven years being benevolent but distant, he finds himself being drawn to her.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

It would take more time to list all of the things that were awful about this odious movie that it would be to watch it again. Around the slight plot are many gross attempts at humor involving bodily functions and excretions, both human and animal. They include a prank involving ingestion of dog semen inside éclair filling, getting children drunk (and having them barf), and feeding an extremely powerful laxative to someone just before an exam with no bathroom breaks. It is also supposed to be funny that Van is forced to have sex with an elderly woman who wears a wig. Are you laughing yet?

There is a half-hearted attempt to portray Van as all right at heart because he fundraises and befriends outcasts. There are cameos by classic teen comedies like Animal House, Revenge of the Nerds, and others, but all this does is remind us of how much better those movies were. The script is unforgivably sloppy, with dialogue that sounds like people who don't know very much English made it up on the spot.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes some raunchy comedies better than others. Do things like clever dialog and interesting characters matter to you in a comedy?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 5, 2002
DVD release date:August 20, 2002
Cast:Ryan Reynolds, Tara Reid, Tim Matheson
Director:Walt Becker
Studio:Artisan Entertainment
Genre:Comedy
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:very explict sexual humor and language

This review of National Lampoon's Van Wilder was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byBGWil369 April 9, 2008
Parent of a 14 year old Written byjacob0929 April 2, 2009
age 15+
 
inappropriate but hilarious
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 6 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 November 5, 2012
age 12+
 

national lampoons van wilder

script is unforgivably sloppy, with dialogue that sounds like people who don't know very much English made it up on the spot. Families can talk about what makes some raunchy comedies better than others. Do things like clever dialog and interesting characters matter to you in a comedy?
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass