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You know that supermarket own-brand microwave meal you find in the fridge late on a Saturday night? The one that's past its sell-by date, but still a long way from rotten? The one that you munch down, kinda enjoy at the time but don't really want to shape a whole diet around? Cinematically, that's Van Wilder: Party Liaison...
A college-set gross-out movie, it spins happily around the antics of eternal student Van (Ryan Reynolds). Starved of cash when his Dad realises that Wilder Jr has been dossing for seven years, Van's forced to earn a living by turning his fun-loving lifestyle into a career as a professional party organiser. Trouble is, that attracts the attentions of hotshot campus journo Gwen (Tara Reid) and her jealous boyfriend Richard (Daniel Cosgrove)...
The usual predictable parade of jocks, preppies, nerds and babes stroll by, the gags veer from the lame to the so-funny-you-nearly-vomit (trust us, you really will never eat another chocolate eclair again...) and the whole thing vanishes from your mental digestive system by the next day.
What gives it a bit more spice is the tasty pairing of Reid and Reynolds. Reid can play this kind of goodie-goodie in her sleep, mixing convent girl respectability with flashes of the kind of raw-edged sexuality that could give a vicar sleepless nights. Reynolds, meanwhile, is good-looking, funny and has enough goofy charm to make you forgive Van's moments of outrageous smugness.
A middle-of-the-road effort from the National Lampoon stable it may be, but even if Van Wilder... never lives up to the rep of ancestors like Animal House or Vacation, it's still a perfectly enjoyable time-waster.
Tara Reid has done better and the chirpily charming Ryan Reynolds will do better, but neither need be ashamed of this fast-food fun. See, laugh, forget.
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