National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj

National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj

2006, R, 95 min. Directed by Mort Nathan. Starring Kal Penn, Lauren Cohen, Daniel Percival, Glen Barry, Anthony Cozens, Holly Davidson, Steven Rathman.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Dec. 8, 2006

You have to hand it to screenwriter David Drew Gallagher. As a primer on 1,001 ways to refer to the female anatomy without actually using the word "vagina," his work on this highly unanticipated offering in National Lampoon's current crop of collegiate cinema is, without question, useful and informative. On the other hand, National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj is shit, the sort of cut ’n’ paste horn-dog humor that original Nat Lamp CEO Matty Simmons would've called a writer on the carpet for right before he handed the lazy gagster over to Michael O'Donoghue for ritual evisceration. Like print issues of National Lampoon, the yuks in The Rise of Taj are scarce indeed. As the hipster Yank teaching assistant enrolled at a Cambridge knockoff, Taj (Penn) has to cajole a quartet of brainiac, hooligan, sex-crazed gameboys (and one girl) into the realm of cool so that they can declare class war on those posh toffs at the fraternity across the way and, you know, get their whiffy sticks waxed and whatnot. But Penn sports little of the squirrelly charm evidenced by the original Van Wilder star, Ryan Reynolds, and even less of Reynolds' trouser-snakester brio. I'll buy him Ganja & Hess-ing it to a midnight murderburger shack, but as a scheming lothario on a mission of mercy, he's a wash. Bluto Blutarsky would devour him in one swollen mouthful and then spew him back out all over the place. (Get it? He's a zit!) Granted, the state of the indie hipster and/or big-man-on-the-quad aesthetic has probably skewed a bit since I was a frosh, but good lord, man, it can't be this pale an imitation of campus life. I implore you: Go rent National Lampoon's Animal House, and leave this flaccid wanker alone.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Kal Penn Films
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas
Light ’em up for everyone's favorite movie stoners.

Kimberley Jones, Nov. 11, 2011

Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay
Everyone's favorite stoner pals are back; this time running from the law after being mistaken for terrorists.

Josh Rosenblatt, May 2, 2008

More by Marc Savlov
Ruben Brandt, Collector
Pop-art animated heist flick puts collection obsession on display

March 22, 2019

What If <i>Texas Chain Saw Massacre</i> Was Really About the Horrors of Modern American Society?
What If Texas Chain Saw Massacre Was Really About the Horrors of Modern American Society?
Putting the Austin-made seminal slasher back into context

March 22, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj, Mort Nathan, Kal Penn, Lauren Cohen, Daniel Percival, Glen Barry, Anthony Cozens, Holly Davidson, Steven Rathman

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle