National Lampoon’s Van Wilder appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. A product of the format’s early days, Wilder showed its age.
Sharpness appeared mediocre at best. While the movie never appeared terribly soft, it also failed to display real clarity and it remained vaguely flat and fuzzy.
Some of this stemmed from the presence of moderate edge haloes throughout the film, and rampant digital noise reduction also became a problem. Facial textures looked downright plastic, as the DNR smoothed out everything in a bizarre, unnatural manner.
I saw no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, but print flaws cropped up throughout the film. These manifested in the form of small specks that didn’t seem heavy but they created persistent distractions.
Colors leaned toward an amber tint, and they were decent but not great. The hues tended to feel a little heavy and they lacked real vivacity.
Blacks worked okay, as they showed reasonable depth, while shadows seemed somewhat murky. Low-light shots failed to deliver impressive delineation, though they weren’t awful. The movie ended up with a disappointing image that barely rose above DVD-level standards.
While better, the movie’s Uncompressed PCM 7.1 soundtrack failed to present much involvement. Music used the various channels in a reasonably positive manner, and effects added a bit of movement and activity.
Nonetheless, the material didn’t offer a lot to make the track memorable. The mix veered toward the usual parameters expected of a comedy, so don’t expect a lot to impress.
Audio quality worked fine, with speech that seemed natural and concise. Music provided fairly good range and impact as well.
Effects didn’t have a lot to do, but they appeared accurate enough. This became a workable track, even if it didn’t stand out as memorable.
The Blu-ray boasts a slew of extras, and these start with a Sweet Drunken Idiot Kommentary. Though the disc doesn’t name the three participants, apparently former National Lampoon editors Steven Brykman and Mason Brown are two of three, while the other just gets referred to as “Michael”.
As far as I can tell, none of these men worked on the film, and they give it the MST3K treatment – sort of. We’re supposed to believe they turn their screening into a drinking game, one during which they comment on the action.
The “kommentary” seems funnier than Wilder itself, but that doesn’t say much. For the most part, it’s an annoying way to spend 94 minutes, especially given the rampant homophobia the participants display.
A slew of video features arrive, and we begin with Party Legends, Pledges and “Bull”ies, a 15-minute, 56-second piece with producers Peter Abrams, Robert L. Levy and Andrew Panay, writers Brent Goldberg and David Wagner, director Walt Becker, and actors Ryan Reynolds, Teck Holmes, Daniel Cosgrove, Tara Reid, Jason Winer and Chris Owens.
“Legends” looks at the project’s roots and development, cast and performances, and some scene specifics. A few useful nuggets emerge, but most of the show offers lame attempts at comedy.
With the Ultimate College Party Guide, we get a five-minute reel with Winer as his movie character. It’s another feeble attempt at comedy.
Next we find Gwen-ezuma’s Revenge, a seven-minute, 36-second program that features Cosgrove, Abrams, Levy, Panay, Goldberg, Wagner, and foley artist Edward Steidele. “Revenge” examines a scene in which a character gets explosive diarrhea. It gives us disgusting insights into the sound design, though most of it remains joke-oriented.
A quiz shows up via Testicles of the Animal Kingdom. It shows closeups of 14 mammalian nutsacks and forces us to choose the critter to which the balls belong. Who thought this was a good idea? That person should be fired.
A series of stillframes come during Write That Down. It covers 11 screens and provides “inspirational quotes” from the movie. “Write” turns into another waste of time.
Another quiz arrives when we go to Blu-Book Exam. It shows clips from the movie and then asks questions about them. The game lacks entertainment value and also runs poorly. It didn’t function at all on one player, and it sputtered on another.
Sugarcult’s “Bounce Off the Walls” delivers a music video. The song offers the kind of forgettable pop-punk popular in the early 2000s, but the video deserves a look since it offers unique footage of Ryan Reynolds and Tara Reid.
Nine Deleted Scenes fill a total of eight minutes, 59 seconds. These mix bits of character exposition and additional stabs at comedy, though the former dominates. In theory, that makes the clips more valuable than most, as they develop the characters a little better, but they’re still pretty weak.
A collection of Outtakes runs 12 minutes, 24 seconds. Some of these offer goofs/giggles, but we also get some alternate lines and gags. Those make the package more substantial than usual, though they grow tedious after a while.
Under Burly TV Specials, we get three components: “Half Baked” (12:40), “Imposter” (16:53) and “Movie Junky” (14:24). “Baked” features Reid and Reynolds as they join Bernadette Pauley to cook “Hangdown Stankies”.
“Impostor” uses Wilder cast members Kal Penn, Chris Owens and Daniel Cosgrove as part of a dating show-related prank. “Junky” offers interviews with Reynolds, Reid, Penn and Cosgrove.
The first two offer unusual ways to promote the film. Neither seems especially interesting, but at least they’re different. “Junky” becomes more traditional but the questions take it down a quirky path.
For the final video program, Reel Comedy spans 21 minutes, eight seconds and features comments from actors in character. The show treats Van and the others as real people and becomes a “documentary” look. It provides mild entertainment, though at least it’s funnier than the movie itself.
Also from Lionsgate includes an ad for Employee of the Month. No trailer for Wilder appears here.
Inane, idiotic, infantile, imbecilic – all these terms accurately describe National Lampoon’s Van Wilder, and they don’t even require me to leave the “I” section of the dictionary. Painfully unfunny, the film lacks even the most basic entertainment value. The Blu-ray brings terrible picture quality and adequate audio as well as a long roster of largely superficial supplements. This becomes a bad release for a terrible movie.