National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise Of Taj

2006, Movie, R, 95 mins

Review

NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VAN WILDER: THE RISE OF TAJ
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What is the sound of a Van Wilder movie without Van Wilder? The occasion faint snicker perhaps, or maybe a sigh of relief that as vulgar frat-house comedies go, it's not as scabrous as it could be, excepting the sight gag involving a geyser of dog spunk. A narrative detour in sequel form, the film follows the further fortunes of former nerd Taj Badalandabad (Kal Penn), the proud protege of perpetual college "student" Van Wilder, who appears only in a small photograph. Having graduated from Coolidge College, Taj packs up his faithful bulldog Balzac (named not for the writer but for his prodigious testicular endowment — thank you, Beavis and Butthead), jets off to England's snooty Camford College, where he'll be combining a gig as a teaching assistant with his own graduate studies. He hopes to follow in his father's legendary hound-dog footsteps, starting with membership in the elite Fox and Hounds house, but Taj's hopes are cruelly dashed when the inbred aristos who run Fox and Hounds inform him that there appears to be a little typographical error — that letter he received should have said he was not accepted for membership. He is thus banished to "The Barn," where his outcast housemates include math-and-science nerd Gethin (Anthony Cozens), drunken Irish brawler Seamus (Glen Barry), obsessive gamer Simon (Steve Rathman) and cockney tart Sadie (Holly Davidson), who'd spend her life having her mouth washed out if anyone had a clue what she was saying. And wouldn't you know, all were victims of the same humiliating Fox and Hounds false-acceptance prank, a favorite of insufferable Pipp Everett, the Earl of Grey (Dan Percival). Oh, and can you believe that Taj's staff supervisor, Charlotte Higginson (Lauren Cohan), is Pipp's girlfriend? Naturally, Taj vows revenge in high Van Wilder style: He forms a new house, cheekily named "Cock and Bull," and rallies his housemates to compete for the school's coveted Hastings Cup. Awarded annually to the house whose members excel in academics, sportsmanship and charitable work (as well as less high-minded pursuits, like beer chugging), the Cup has been in Fox and Hounds' hands for years. Do the scrappy proles show the inbred blue bloods what's what? Gee, you think? The laughs are low, the breasts are high, and the film is instantly forgettable. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise Of Taj
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