You are probably aware that the "American Pie" name has been appropriated as
a brand name for a string of raunchy youth comedies which go straight to DVD and
are only tangentially related to American Pie. Well VWFY is to Van Wilder as The
Naked Mile is to American Pie. In fact, one of the stars of the American Pie
sequels, Steve Talley, also plays a main character in this Van Wilder prequel.
Within the very loose framework of the original Van Wilder character, but
with a different actor in that role, the authors tell a more or less
by-the-numbers "slobs vs snobs" tale which is vaguely reminiscent of Animal
House, except without any of that pesky humor to slow it down.
Although he would prefer to join his father's business immediately, rich boy
Vance Wilder V resigns himself to his father's decision to send him to Coolidge
University, in line with four previous generations of Van Wilders. Coolidge was
Playboy's top party school one year in the 70s, so Van reasons that it should at
least be fun. Wrong. Much to Van's dismay, the school has been converted to a
conservative institution which centers on Christianity and ROTC. The charismatic
Van recruits some slobs as his disciples and sets out to beat the snobs.
On the "American Pie sequel chart," I'd place it above the deplorable Band
Camp; beneath The Naked Mile, which had copious nudity and a cutely original
love story; and maybe about even with Beta House, which was just raunchy
mindless fun. There's nothing incompetent about this movie. It's slick enough,
but it has no new ideas at all. It's just a recycling of dozens of other movies
you're already seen. The generic youthploitation material has simply been
cobbled into a story which is an approximate match for the Van Wilder character.
If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to
explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by
our definition, a
C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs
and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a: