National Lampoon’s Van Wilder appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. This wasn’t a great-looking image, but it worked acceptable well.
Overall sharpness seemed fine. The movie could come across as a bit soft during interiors, but the material generally provided fairly solid delineation and accuracy.
I saw no signs of jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained minimal. Print flaws also failed to create a notable distraction, as I noticed the occasional speck but nothing severe.
Colors satisfied. The movie boasted a reasonably bright palette that the 4K’s HDR brought out with fairly strong peppiness.
Blacks seemed deep and dense, while shadows were acceptable, if occasionally a bit thick. I suspect that stemmed from the original photography, though. Overall, this became a more than watchable image, if not a great one.
Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the movie’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack went with a fairly typical comedy feel. 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. Parties and related elements became the most dynamic moments.
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 good track, even if it didn’t stand out as particularly memorable.
How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? The 4K’s Atmos track offered a little more activity and involvement. This wasn’t a huge change but I thought the Atmos mix seemed a bit stronger.
Visuals delivered much more noticeable improvements, mainly because the Blu-ray looked awful. Whatever flaws the 4K displayed, it still marked an enormous upgrade from the waxy, messy, flat Blu-ray.
The 4K UHD 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.
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.
The package also includes a Blu-ray copy, and it tosses in some extras that didn’t port over to the 4K UHD. 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.
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 4K UHD brings generally decent picture and audio as well as a long roster of largely superficial supplements. Though this remains an awful movie, the 4K UHD becomes its best home video version.
To rate this film visit the Blu-ray review of VAN WILDER