Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj
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The Van Wilder saga continues without ... Van Wilder. Taj (the only character carried over from the first movie) has graduated from Coolidge College. And to further his "education," he flies off to England to attend Camford University.
Carrying a letter of acceptance to the prestigious Fox 'n Hounds fraternity, the sexually obsessed "adultescent" walks through the campus gates with the desire to follow in his father's "shagging" footsteps. Claiming a clerical error, the rich snobs toss Taj out, though, and he lands in a broken down house of rejects. The members include a violent Irishman, a nerdy intellectual, a video game addict and a sexually loose Cockney girl. (Come to think of it, she's no looser than anyone else at Camford.)
Taj falls for a sweet, beautiful girl named Charlotte, but soon finds out she's dating and sleeping with his rich student rival, Pipp Everett, the Earl of Grey. In order to win Charlotte's attentions and the respect of the school, Taj encourages his house (renamed the Cock 'n Bulls) to beat the Fox 'n Hounds at their own game and win the coveted Hastings Cup—in which houses compete for athletic, academic and social service points.
Taj encourages his fellow house members to stand up for themselves and find ways to use their strengths to win the respect they desire. And later, when the group is wrongly accused of stealing test answers (planted by the snobs), Taj selflessly takes the blame. During his family's visit to the university, Taj laments that he isn't living up to his father's reputation. His father reassures him: "How can I be disappointed? You're my son."
When waking up from being knocked unconscious, a guy exclaims, "Jesus, Mary and Joseph." One hall at the university is set aside for urns filled with the ashes of past generations of the Grey dynasty. It is approached with a "reverent" attitude.
The Rise of Taj is essentially all about crass, vulgar and obscene references to, and showcased visuals of, sex. It begins with Taj happening upon a girl on the plane to England who has a sexual spice fetish. Taj has some hot sauce that motivates the woman to take him into the plane's lavatory, rip off both of their clothes and lick her way down his body as he pours the condiment all over himself.
From there, the arousal parade kicks into high gear. One of Taj's housemates is a very busty girl who wears low-cut tops that are never up to their concealment tasks. The camera zooms and lingers as her breasts are ogled by others, soaked in beer and eventually exposed totally. The camera slides down behind a guy (who has "huge" anatomical parts) as he drops his shorts to expose himself to a potential lover. We watch her (naked except for tiny panties) eye him and then pass out from the shock. After reviving her, he accidentally knocks her out again with his (not seen) erection.
We do, however—for sexual purposes—get repeated close-up looks at the enormous genitals of Taj's bulldog, Balzac. For instance, during a dog show, a woman judge remarks about the incredible size of the dog and we see a shot of her cupping his testicles in her hand. Also onscreen: Taj's tented boxer shorts in an intimate moment with Charlotte, and people being copiously splattered by an ejaculating Great Dane.
A fencing competition turns foul when Pipp throws a broken sword that slams into the wall near Taj's head. The two battle with sharp blades, slashing at each other and ripping through many objects in the room around them. Taj carves a T on the seat of Pipp's pants, drawing blood.
Seamus is a violent guy who greets Taj with a head-butt and knocks him out. He delivers another forehead smash to the school's coach when requesting a spot on the rugby team. The coach is impressed. At a party the ruffian meets a pretty Irish girl who head-butts him to the ground.
Taj gets shot in the crotch several times with paintballs. And he laments a stupid comment he makes to a girl, (over)stating, "I'm gonna go slit my wrists now."
Crude or Profane Language
You could fill a thesaurus with this film's descriptions of, and references to, male and female genitalia—and their interaction. The s-word is trotted out once or twice, too, as are milder profanities ("h---," "a--," "d--n," "b--ch," b--tard"). The f-word is heard in passing in one of the soundtrack songs. "Bloody" and misuses of God's name are bantered about. Obscene gestures are made.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Students are often seen in a pub swilling pints of beer. Parties also boast lots of booze. The Fox 'n Hounds house holds a wine tasting. And a couple of people are seen smoking weed, drinking hard alcohol and downing champagne.
Pipp and his pals put sexually enhancing drugs into Balzac's food bowl.
Other Negative Elements
Taj's father fills his son's head with tales (illustrated with pelvic thrusts) of his many sexual conquests while at college. His mother does little more than stick it to Dad. And most other adults are depicted as bumble-headed old professors who haven't got a clue about the world around them.
The original Van Wilder film had tons of randy humor, a well-endowed bulldog that constantly mooned the camera and, on the unrated video release, a much ballyhooed hidden "Easter egg" featuring a large-chested woman exposing her breasts. That sophomoric sexual trifecta now makes a return in National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj.
The fact that the first film did well enough onscreen and in DVD form to spawn a sequel raises this question: Who is the intended audience for this tripe?
It's certainly not families. Boozing, bare breasts and oral sex don't make for good after-dinner discussions. Or chick-flick fans. There's nothing to weep over here, unless you count the lack of plot and character development. And the guy who takes a date to this one will (or at least should) end up ducking a punch before getting dragged out by his ear.
Thus, it seems Van Wilder 2 is aimed squarely at either grown men who hide their faces and sneak in after the lights dim, or hormonally-obsessed teens who aren't supposed to see it in the first place—without an accompanying parent or guardian. And what self-respecting parent is going to say yes? Which, I guess, means teens making the wrong choice will end up sneaking in along with everyone else. Sad.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Kal Penn as Taj Mahal Badalandabad; Lauren Cohan as Charlotte Higginson; Daniel Percival as Pipp Everett
Mort Nathan ( )