Having learned the ways of women from his legendary mentor, Taj Badalandabad (Kal Penn) sets out to study abroad (or two) at England's prestigious Camford University. But he and his bottom-heavy bulldog, Balzac, are quickly rebuffed by the elitist members of Camford's top fraternity. So with the help of a few new friends?and a bold new attitude?Taj plans to teach the school snobs a lesson they'll never forget!
The National Lampoon brand has always had very little to do with the movies it has graced. Even the not-so-bad Chevy Chase Vacation entries didn't really need the imprimatur of the famous satire magazine that had its heyday about 30 years ago: They pretty much became a brand in and of themselves. The same goes for the Van Wilder movies, which we probably haven't seen the last of. Even though Ryan Reynolds, who originated the title character in 2002 doesn't appear, his lowbrow, good-natured goofball spirit remains. The star this time is the eminently likeable Kal Penn, who made a big splash in 2004's Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and was Van Wilder's dorky sidekick Taj Mahal Badalandabad in the first movie. Here he displays more of his mentor's glib confidence, maturing into a sex-crazed, fun-loving grad student roaming the hallowed halls of England's (fake) Camford University. The comic situations he encounters there are simply a pretext for the typical sex, flatulence, beer-drinking, and class-division jokes you'd expect. Most of them come off well, thanks to Penn's comic aplomb, rubbery versatility and the rivalry he induces between the geeky misfit gang he ends up leading, and the snooty, upper-class Fox and Hound fraternity that clearly has to be given its lowbrow do. The battle for the pretty girl (Lauren Cohan, in truly good sport mode) who happens to be the property of super-twit Pipp Everett, the Earl of Grey, ends in predictable fashion, as does the rise of Taj's minions as bearers of the torch for the next Van Wilder, whether Van Wilder appears in it or not. --Ted Fry
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