Van Wilder: Freshman Year Movie Poster Image

Van Wilder: Freshman Year



Campus sex-booze-drugs prequel bashes religion, sobriety.
  • Review Date: July 11, 2009
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Glorifies anti-authoritarian behavior, with smooth hero Van Wilder spreading a mindset of hypersexual partying and gratification -- which is depicted as healthy and positive. Chastity and celibacy are identified with the villains -- as is Bible-reading and religious observance. Miltary cadets and officers are grim sadists prone to violence, elitism, and impotence. The "education" experience consists of socializing, sex, and revenge; scholarship/studying only comes up in the context of sex-ed class.

Positive role models

Van Wilder is upheld as a man's man with an "I'm gonna do what I'm gonna do" attitude. He courts one girl throughout, but his agenda comes across as reforming her of conservative discipline (and humiliating her cadet boyfriend). Stereotyping is rampant. There's a Jamaican wannabe (a white student who listens to reggae and smokes pot) and a pidgin-speaking, kung-fu-ing Chinese student (his name incorporates the F-word), whose sex interludes with a fellow Asian encompass erotic use of egg rolls and chopsticks. ROTC types are depicted as torture-happy, racist bullies and sexually repressed. A few senior figures (the fathers of the heroine and hero) are shown in a positive manner.


Football tackles, a few thrown punches, an extra knocked senseless by a golf ball. Hand to hand combat between male and female cadets. A gun brandished threateningly.


Lots of sex (and sex metaphors, verbal and visual), masturbation suggestions. Topless girls and cheerleaders clad in underwear or lingerie. A veritable gallery of penis-shaped sex toys displayed and used by co-eds. Oral sex granted by both enticing females and a dog -- a male bulldog with large genitalia. A variety of bizarre sexual positions are demonstrated (by mostly clothed subjects) in a sex-ed class. Talk of pornography.


The f-word, the s-word, and "asshole" uttered numerous times. An Asian student's name is Yu Dom Fok.


References to other movies (like Scarface), as well as Wheel of Fortune; a thinly disguised Playboy magazine, and of course a natural tie-in to early Van Wilder antics.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A white student pretending to be Jamaican blissfully smokes or otherwise ingests marijuana. Party-hearty drinking, including the main character  "waterboarded" with beer.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a review of the unrated DVD and not the R-rated version from theaters. This youth-baiting sex comedy is centered on "fornication," partying, drugs, and humiliation-revenge as key parts of the college experience. Much female cleavage and toplessness, and even "abstaining" students (the girls, anyway) are practically nymphomaniacs when tempted. Religious types and military (with a few exceptions) are depicted as immoral right-wing hostiles, compared to the freewheeling title dude, whose anything-goes lifestyle is made to look heroic. Profanity is not nonstop but plentiful enough. Seeing other Van Wilder movies isn't necessary for following the, er, intricacies of the narrative.

What's the story?

VAN WILDER: FRESHMAN YEAR is a prequel, obviously to National Lampoon's Van Wilder. Even as he's graduating from high school, preppie top-dog Van Wilder (Jonathan Bennett) is such a sexual champion that while delivering the commencement address he enjoys oral sex under his robes from a girl classmate. The cocky teen, like all the men in his illustrious family, enters Coolidge College, where the wealthy, fun-loving Wilders have played key roles for generations. But the onetime "party school" has unexpectedly gone ultra-conservative, restricting alcohol and drugs and preaching that sex is sinful and forbidden. Stuck in a strict ROTC unit under the command of his father's old enemy, a nasty military colonel, Van Wilder still finds ways to rebel and party.

Is it any good?


The Christian-bashing is labored, and even the gross-out and body-function stuff isn't terribly creative by 21st-century standards. Timeliest bit: a takeoff on controversial US military “waterboarding” torture tactics with captives. Only here it's beer-boarding, har-har.

You don't really have to have seen the previous Van Wilder and VW: Rise of Taj  movies to follow this one, just understand it's a lower-class (in every way) edition of the establishment-undermining bad manners and collegiate milieu of National Lampoon's Animal House. Van Wilder started out as a National Lampoon property, sort of a next-generation-Animal House, but that once-great humor magazine seems to have seen fit to take its name off the property -- a warning sign indeed.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the concept of the "Big Man on Campus" -- not terminology employed here, but the underlying motif of the whole Van Wilder movie series. An American icon going back for generations, the BMOC is the ultra-cool, smooth school-society leader and "fixer" who seems to get away with everything. Compare Van Wilder particularly with the more family-friendly Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Is Van the kind of guy that Ferris will grow up to become?

  • Ask kids if they enjoy this kind of extreme-sex comedy and why. Do they believe that college is really like this?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 11, 2009
DVD release date:July 14, 2009
Cast:Jerry Shea, Jonathan Bennett, Kristin Cavallari
Director:Harvey Glazer
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Run time:100 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:pervasive crude and sexual content, language and drug use.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written byrico_355 July 18, 2009
i liked but what do i know im a teen
Parent of a 17 year old Written bygoelitus January 5, 2011

helpful info I really needed

I’m so happy I stumble upon this blog! A lot of helpful info I really needed to know these stuff, I had a hard time with those foreign characters. Thank you so much Quality Backlinks
What other families should know
Great messages
Adult Written byCastellanos July 16, 2009

New Van Wilder isn't any better than the first two

Van Wilder is back as a freshman in college and is the same as ever. This new Van Wilder movie is more or less, exactly the same as the first two Van Wilders. Van Wilder is introduced as a fun loving, young adult who parties without consequence. He meets a girl that he likes, then meets her up-tight boyfriend. Then the movie continues with pranks played by both Van and the jealous boyfriend on each other. Then, the boyfriend pulls a prank that seems to have gotten Van kicked out of school and rid of for good, until the climax where Van humiliates the ex-boyfriend and wins the girl. That's the basic outline of all three Van Wilder movies (with the exception of #2, where Van is replaced by Taj). If you didn't like the first two Van Wilders, then I guarantee, that you won't like this one. This new Van Wilder is no different. If you're a fan of the first two, then it's worth a rental, just to see all the pranks that were passed over by the creators of the first two. Parents should know that this Van Wilder is just as raunchy as the first two. There are bare breasts, bodily-function pranks, sex and sexual references galore, marijuana use, and moderate R-rated language. Van gets a bj during his graduation from high school speech. He sticks vibrators in girls dorm rooms (which they all use) and then tapes vibrators underneath a bench causing a group Christian girls to all have orgasms. A dog has humongous balls. A man thinking he's getting a "happy ending" to a massage, but instead gets a bj from a dog. Van teaches students about sex positions, using clothed, male and female demonstrators. Van walks into a cheerleaders locker room and trims all their shirts and a skirts. Two men are tied together and the one in the back gets an erection, and the list goes on and on. There are about 10 f-words, and a handful of s-words and other swear words. To parents, If you had no problems letting your kids see either of the first two Van Wilders, then this one is fine.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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