National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj
Directed by Mort Nathan
MGM, now playing
It isn't as if the first Van Wilder set any kind of high standard for comedy to begin with, but the National Lampoon folks don't care. They have, after all, foisted on us such unique cinematic tortures as Barely Legal and Gold Diggers in the past few years, so why not a sequel that subtracts the only good thing about the original, that being Ryan Reynolds? (And when Tara Reid won't even come back, you know things are looking down.) So Kal Penn, who should have done a Harold & Kumar follow-up instead, gets elevated to dubious leading-man status in this laugh-free campus "comedy" set in England and mostly shot in Romania. Will the awkward Indian lead the campus misfits to an unlikely victory over the elitist frat boys? Will he get the girl? Will there be yet more jokes involving dog semen? Will you enjoy them? The answers: Yes, yes, yes, and hell no.