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The charming Van Wilder (played by Ryan Reynolds) has been at college for seven years and knows all the ins and outs of life at that college. After a series of comedic incidents, his father finds out that Van has been wasting his life at college and cuts him off from the college fund. Now Van has only a few months left to graduate and win the heart of a journalism major Gwen Pearson (Tara Reid). She is dating an arrogant medical student who is trying to get Van expelled. Hilarity Ensues.

The 2002 film is another entry in the National Lampoon movies. While it had a low budget and small box office returns, Ryan Reynolds managed to pull off the silly gags with flying colors. Unfortunately, it spawned an even less successful spin-off Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj and a straight to DVD prequel.


Tropes used:

  • Actor Allusion: Paul Gleason is once again a Jerk Ass teacher who has a problem with one particular student.
    • Subverted in that his character turns out to not really be a Jerkass... he just knows that Van is capable of more.
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: Most of the reason why Taj came to the United States and college in general.
  • Big Man on Campus
  • Black Best Friend
  • Boy Meets Girl: A version of this is used with Van and Gwen.
    • And Van and Kaitlin in Freshman Year
  • Catch Phrase: Van's repeated use of "Write that down." after giving someone else advice.
  • The Charmer: Van to pretty much everyone.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Van flirts mercilessly with Gwen but he never actually makes a pass at her since he knows she has a boyfriend, even though the guy is a complete Jerkass.
    • He does the same thing with Kaitlin in Freshman Year
  • Mr. Fanservice: It's Ryan Reynolds.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: At his expulsion hearing, Van points out that he's only eighteen credits short of graduating from Coolidge, so proposes the alternate punishment - Instead of expulsion, he has to graduate from Coolidge. Mr McDougal points out that no matter what, they'll be rid of Wilder, so why not see what he's made of. Wilder then proceeds to get passing grades in all of his classes, despite not attending one all year & cramming everything he needed to know into a few weeks.
    • In Freshman Year, Van goes up to the militarian Dean Reardon, gives a "The Reason You Suck" Speech before challenging him to War Games, the loser leaving Coolidge; which leads to this exchange:
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 Dean Reardon: Prepare for a good old fashioned ass kicking, son.

Van Wilder: If I were your son, I'd kick my own ass.

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  • Fun Personified: Van Wilder. He has the amazing ability to take nearly any situation and make it awesome. Just ask the Jerkass Richard's parents.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Richard's Greek fraternity, the Delta Iota Kappas.
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 Van: Richard you rascal, you never told me you were a DIK! (under his breath) Not that you had to...

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    • And in the prequel, the Daughters In Christ's Kingdom.
      • There's also the Lambda Omega Omegas, the Geek fraternity.
    • Van has his initials (V.W.) emblazoned on his golf cart.
  • Funny Foreigner: Taj Mahal Badalandabad
    • Played straight with Yu Dum Fook in Freshman Year, and then subverted with The Reveal that he's actually Van's father's chief of security, planted at Coolidge to keep an eye on Van & not actually a Foreigner.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Vernon is Van's Stern Teacher.
    • And John Hoynes is his dad.
      • I think you mean Otter is his dad.
        • This is what you call an inter-generational exchange.
        • Or it means that, after college, Otter, doubtless due to the parade shenanigans, changed his name and moved to Texas, where he got elected to the Senate and, later, to the Vice-Presidency.
    • And Booger is a meter maid.
  • Hot for Student: A very gross example of this is Van Wilder and one of his teachers who is well over her fifties. The things he did to stay in college...
  • Jerkass: Richard, Gwen's stuck up boyfriend.
  • Meaningful Name: Richard Bagg, and the Delta Iota Kappas. Just think about it for a second. Lampshaded by Van.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Kristin Cavallari in Freshman Year.
  • No Fourth Wall: Van Wilder narrates his story and even turns to stare at the camera during certain humorous instances. Not unlike another character Ryan Reynolds is hoping to represent on the silver screen...
    • Jonathan Bennett gets in on the act at the end of Freshman Year whilst playing the younger Van.
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 Kaitlin: But what about the party?

Van Wilder: Trust Me. Van looks into the camera. There'll be more.

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  • Present Day Past: Van has an iPhone in Freshman Year... The prequel to the 2002 film. Further compounded by the fact that Van's been at Coolidge 7 years, thus making Van's freshman year... 1995.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Ryan Reynolds is now signed to play Hal Jordan & Deadpool, Simon Helberg is in The Big Bang Theory, Kal Penn is Kumar and a former House MD cast member.
  • Smug Snake: Richard, again.
  • Squick: Several examples such as the gag with Van's dog's testicles or some of Taj's dialogue involving himself and sex.
  • Stern Teacher: Mr. McDougal seems like just a Jerkass until later on it's found out he just wants Van Wilder to reach his full potential.
  • Television Geography: The climax is funny for people familiar with the campus of UCLA: Van Wilder's sprint from his dorm (actually Royce Hall, which contains lecture halls, classrooms, and a theater) to his final exam (which happens to be located in the building next door) seems to have him teleporting all over campus and often running in the opposite direction of where he ends up.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Taj is just full of these.
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