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National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj
The least anticipated sequel of the year
National Lampoon
Kal Penn Stars as Taj Mahal in "Van Wilder 2: Rise of the Taj".
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $8,000,000
OTHER PREVIEWS: Alatriste (7/10)
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

April 21st, 2006: After learning all the tricks of the trade from his former mentor and party animal Van Wilder, Taj Mahal Badalandabad (Kal Penn) is moving up from the role of an assistant and taking a much more authoritative approach toward partying. He travels to England, hoping to further his studies at the prestigious Oxford University. Soon after his arrival, he finds himself surrounded by snobby, uptight Brits. Perhaps drawing from his personal experience, he becomes determined to loosen the student body up a bit by teaching them how to get down in style.

What to Expect: Honestly, I have difficulty stomaching the idea that this sequel is actually getting made and will even get a proper theatrical treatment instead of going directly to DVD where it belongs. Scratch that, the DVD format is too good for this abomination. However, the filmmakers are really going through with the project. In fact, the comedy is filming in Romania and England and not in some boxed-up studio where Hollywood magic typically happens. That may be the single most impressive fact about the movie because it gets much worse from now on. As if though the premise from first-time screenwriter David Drew Gallagher was not bad enough, Mort Nathan will be directing the flick. You may recall Nathanís only other directing credit, the absolutely atrocious Boat Trip. The Cuba Gooding Jr. comedy about two straight guys that mistakenly find themselves on a gay cruise was almost unbearable to sit through. If Boat Trip is any indication of what Van Wilder 2 will be like, then we are all going to need life preservers.

Article continues below

Since the first Van Wilder went on to become a moderate hit, I cannot exactly blame the producers for trying to come up with a sequel, but Iíd like to convict them for actually making one. The original quadrupled its budget during its theatrical run and has gone on to have a decent life on DVD and television. It never became a huge sensation, but it exceeded most peopleís expectations and garnered a following among the young adult crowd. Although it is easy to see why the film became popular, the admiration is probably undeserved. By combining heavy doses of campus parties and pranks with standard issue gross out humor and sex jokes, the comedy was an attempt to blend the best bits from American Pie with National Lampoonís Animal House. Instead, it turned into an incredibly cheap imitation of either movie. The filmís hero, Van Wilder (Ryan Reynolds), was a likeable party guy, who, over the course of his seven-year tenure, developed into something of a school mascot (in a good way). As a main character, however, I found him to be a relatively bland and uninteresting, generic frat-boy type. In fact, I actually thought his personal assistant, the reserved, but sex-starved Taj, was a more lively character.

In Van Wilder 2, Taj becomes the focal point, which is where everything begins to go wrong. For starters, the sequel will not feature Ryan Reynolds, the actor who played the hero in the original. Consequently and bafflingly, Van Wilder 2 will be without an actual Van Wilder. As such, I believe it has an inappropriate title, but if the producers were to adjust it accordingly, then they would really have nothing left to work with. At least at this time, they have a brand name that they can market. As a result, Taj will have to step in and try to fill Van Wilderís shoes. The product will be a cheap imitation of Van Wilder and a Taj thatís almost unrecognizable when compared to the inhibited and proper geek of the first film. So it is almost as if though two of the main characters will be missing, with one that only resembles Taj as the new awkward hero. Iím certain that the film will force him into many implausible and poorly scripted situations, disguised to look like clever developments. Itís inevitable that the sequel will feature the same redundant gross out humor of the first film. In some instances, the movie will probably even copy gags verbatim from the original since these types of movies tend to do that. I always find that to be painful to watch. Itís like a confession from the filmmakers that they really have nothing original to show you so theyíll have to resort to a best-of homage to the original in order to make the movie entertaining.

In Conclusion: Once you get past the offensively stereotypical nature of the name Taj Mahal Badalandabad, itís actually kind of funny. Seriously, I find it to be a bit in poor taste, much like the entire sequel. In Van Wilder 2: Rise of the Taj, I expect a retread of the same storylines and jokes from the first film, shown in a new, but not necessarily interesting setting. Boat Trip may even be a better way to spend your time than this. Perhaps a miracle will happen at some point during post-production and the film will get pushed directly to the DVD shelves, but I doubt it. The Van Wilderless Van Wilder 2 should draw some minor interest from the biggest fans of the first one, but the vast majority will not be fooled by a cheap imitation of a cheap imitation. I thought about giving this film one point, but I couldnít think of anything that would deserve it, so there you go.

Similar Titles: National Lampoon's Gold Diggers, National Lampoonís Dorm Daze, National Lampoonís Senior Trip
December 1st, 2006 (wide)
March 27th, 2007 (DVD)

MGM, Bauer Martinez Distribution

Mort Nathan

Kal Penn, Glenn Barry, Lauren Cohan, Anthony Cozens, Holly Davidson, Shobu Kapoor

Total: 73 vote(s).


Click here to view site

Rated R for pervasive crude sexual content, some nudity and language.

95 min






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