Van Wilder: Freshman Year appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The transfer looked quite good.
Colors came across well, as the movie offered nicely delineated and bright hues. Blacks seemed dark and full, while shadows were reasonably smooth. Some interiors came across as a bit dense, but those instances weren’t problematic.
Sharpness seemed fine. A few slight examples of softness and jaggies cropped up through the film, but these were minor. Overall definition looked solid. I noticed no shimmering, and edge enhancement was minor. No source flaws marred the presentation. I thought Blu-ray had spoiled me, but Freshman showed that SD-DVD can still look very nice.
I thought the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Freshman Year was perfectly decent. Examine the audio of pretty much every other comedy of this sort and you’ll know what to expect from the soundfield. It was a front-heavy affair that usually didn’t offer much more than general ambience. Don’t expect action-movie material from this restrained mix.
No issues with audio quality occurred. Speech was consistently distinct and concise, and I detected no problems with edginess or intelligibility. Effects played a minor role and never taxed the system. They displayed decent accuracy, though. Music was a more prominent participant. The track boasted good life and definition to the various tunes, as those showed solid clarity and depth. This was an unexceptional soundtrack, but it was fine for this sort of film.
When we head to the disc’s extras, we open with an audio commentary from director Harv Glazer and actors Jonathan Bennett, Kristin Cavallari, Nic Nac and Steve Talley. All five sit together for this running, screen-specific track. They discuss… well, not much. They joke around a lot, insult each other, and talk about how much they like parts of the movie.
All of that results in a commentary that’s forgettable at best and downright obnoxious at worst. Unfortunately, the “at worst” side dominates, as we find plenty of middle school quality taunts and very little actual information about the film. Maybe there’s not much to say about a piece of fluff like Freshman, but I’d prefer a commentary that at least attempts to tell us about the flick’s creation. This one flops in that regard.
A number of featurettes follow. Creating the Legend: The Making of Van Wilder: Freshman Year runs 17 minutes, 37 seconds and includes notes from Glazer, Bennett, Nic Nac, Cavallari, Talley, and actors Kurt Fuller, Jerry Shea, and Nestor Absera. We get notes about cast and characters, story and performances, and working with Glazer.
While not as obnoxious as the commentary, “Legend” doesn’t prove to be any more illuminating. It just regurgitates a lot of movie information with some jokes and happy talk. Skip it.
Next comes the two-minute, 57-second Going Balls Out: Colossus. It includes notes from Bennett, Cavallari, Shea, and some unnamed dog trainers/assistants. They tell us what a spoiled diva Champ the dog is. Yawn.
In the Coolidge College: Orientation Video, we get a three-minute and 22-second reel. We locate remarks from Bennett, Cavallari, Shea, Talley, Nic Nac and Fuller – in character. They talk about what the school means to them. It’s not amusing or interesting.
During the nine-minute and two-second Decatur, we get a reality show spoof. It views the cast and crew as part of a reality soap opera. Given Cavallari’s roots on Laguna Beach, this could’ve been fun. In reality, it’s pretty forgettable, though at least it’s shorter and more entertaining than the movie.
After this we find Teacher’s Pets. The two-minute and 36-second reel takes a closer look at some of the flick’s racier scenes. This means some shots of hot girls but not anything particularly interesting otherwise.
Within the six-minute and 59-second Bloopers, we get some of the usual stuff. The segment shows the expected goofs and giggles. We do find some alternate lines and improv from a few of the actors, so if you actually like the film, you’ll probably enjoy those moments.
Van’s Party Supplies goes for three minutes, 58 seconds and includes comments from Absera and assistant property master Shawn Gray. We get a closer look at the film’s bongs and dildos. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write. “Supplies” is actually one of the DVD’s more interesting featurettes, but that’s more of an indication the other pieces bore than anything else.
Finally, Pranks 101 lasts three minutes, 46 seconds and features Talley, Nic Nac, Cavallari, Bennett, Absera and Fuller. They discuss pranks they’ve played – both real and fake. It’s moderately amusing.
A few ads open the DVD. We get clips for I Love You, Man, Road Trip: Beer Pong, Tropic Thunder and The Hills Season 4. These also appear in the disc’s Previews area along with clips for Without a Paddle 2: Nature’s Calling, Eagle Eye and National Lampoon’s Stoned Age. No ad for Freshman shows up here.
Is it possible that Van Wilder: Freshman Year improves on its two predecessors? Maybe – I never saw those flicks, so I can’t say. However, I fail to comprehend the prospect they could be worse than this puerile, stupid and thoroughly unfunny piece of dreck. The DVD boasts very good picture, acceptable audio and a forgettable collection of supplements. Avoid this thoroughly awful movie.