Long before the time of Deadpool, there was an era where Ryan Reynolds was simply known as that guy from Van Wilder. If you loved Ryan Reynolds crass gross-out antics back in 2002, you may still get a kick out of it. If you hated the film 16 years ago, well, you're probably going to still hate it. Not much has changed in that span of time other than the cast moving onto bigger and better things. For those hoping that Lionsgate would go out of their way and give the film a new video upgrade, a fresh audio track, and spin out some new bonus features - sadly that's not the case. This release is a simple repackaging of the exact same disc that dropped in 2007. The only difference here is that it comes with a Digital HD code now. So if you already have this flick, you're all set. If you loved the movie and wanted to upgrade to Blu-ray, the price point for this release may be difficult to resist. Worth a Look.
As this film was never exactly my bread and butter, I don't really have a whole lot to add to the discussion of Van Wilder beyond what we already had to say about in 2007. Ryan Reynolds big debut to the world of comedy is still that same crass and often pointlessly disgusting film you remember from 16 years ago. The only thing that's changed is Reynolds has refined his brand of humor into a few modest success, a misguided turn as a CGI-enhanced Green Lantern, and has since become an international superstar largely thanks to the phenomenal success of Deadpool. With Deadpool 2 just a couple short weeks away from shooting up theater screens, I guess Lionsgate thought it was the right time to revisit Reynolds college comedy.
In full honesty, I was never a fan of Van Wilder - even though I was prime for the target demographic when this flick hit theaters. I was 20, in college, male, and had an appreciation for gross-out humor. Thinking I'd be getting something along the lines of what American Pie or Scary Movie had to offer, at the time I figured this film would be a winner. Instead, Van Wilder marked the day I lost interest in that sort of movie. Back then I used to triple feature movies at my local theater when I didn't have classes. I'd schedule things out, find the times that lined up and then just blow my day at the movies while eating copious amounts of popcorn. Good or bad, it didn't matter what the movie was, I saw everything. Thankfully I scheduled this one first so I had something to look forward to. It was a rough 94 minutes.
Today, I don't hate the movie like I did back then. I don't actively avoid it or restrain my contempt for people who enjoyed it. I'm simply indifferent to it now. I'll admit that some of the gags made me chuckle; I'd actually forgotten the pantsless negotiation with the jumper at the beginning. A few other tidbits here and there put a smile on my face, but for the most part, it was just another noisy movie where the jokes flew fast and furious but few stuck the landing. The amount of body fluid from both human and animal didn't really make me feel one way or the other. Perhaps because this sort of thing is now commonplace for this sort of comedy? I mean really, after The Hangover Trilogy, what haven't we seen in a comedy?
At the end of this latest viewing of Van Wilder, I was given a sense of appreciation that Ryan Reynolds has come a long way. While he tries his hand at drama every now and again with movies like Woman in Gold, his quick-witted foul-mouthed sense of humor seems to have found its place. Deadpool proves to be the perfect foil for the Canadian actor to play with and make those jokes stick. I guess the best way to view Van Wilder is as a sort of time capsule. It's that weird time when no one knew who Ryan Reynolds was but everyone knew Tara Reid. If you loved Van Wilder when it first came out, you'll probably still get a laugh from it. If it was never your cup of tea to begin with, you probably don't need to give it a revisit. Deadpool 2 is just a couple weeks away and probably a better way to spend your time.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Lionsgate Home Video re-releases Van Wilder onto Blu-ray. The disc is exactly the same as the one dropped in 2007. The only difference here is this disc is now housed in an eco-friendly case and comes with a Digital HD slip - just in case you needed a portable Ryan Reynolds comedy on your portable device. The disc still loads with that same old black and white Artisan logo - that is a blast from the past.
Like I said in the Disc Stats, this is the exact same transfer as before and it doesn't look any better today as it did back then. See our previous review for full details.
Like the video transfer, this is the exact same pair of audio tracks as before. They get the job done for this sort of comedy. See our previous review for full details.
While the collection of bonus features seems plentiful, they're certainly not very substantial. It's the same collection of pithy EPK features along with some crass and gross out nuggets. See our previous review for full details.
It's kinda weird to say that it has been 16 years since the world was given Ryan Reynolds in the form of Van Wilder, but here we are. While it's nice to see Reynolds make stabs at being an earnest actor beyond the crass motormouth comedian, it's comforting to see that with Deadpool he's finally found a character that makes use of his comedic sensibility. Van Wilder wasn't a great movie in 2002 and in 2018 it remains a subpar punch at adult humor set in a college campus. It's no Animal House - no matter how hard it tries to be one. For this release, Lionsgate Home Entertainment has simply recycled the old disc, put it in an eco-friendly case, and added a digital copy slip. Nothing new or different for A/V presentation or bonus features. If you already own this one, no need for a double dip. If you haven't pulled the trigger, this Van Wilder is Worth a Look.