Have campus comedies really reached the point where fashionable, ante-upping gross-out gags are obligatory? I mean, do we really need a movie in which bulldog semen is served in pastries to unsuspecting frat jerks?
I ask only because "National Lampoon's Van Wilder" has such hilariously droll dialogue and such a witty, charismatic lead in Ryan Reynolds (of TV's "Two Guys and a Girl") that it's just bursting with untapped crafty comic energy that has been redirected toward the lowest of the lowbrow.
Reynolds emits an aura of smarmy charm in the title role of consummate collegiate slacker Van Wilder who, after seven years as Big Man On Campus and $40,000 in tuition, has been cut off by his fed-up father (played by Tim Matheson in one of the flick's many nods to "Animal House").
Continue reading: National Lampoon's Van Wilder Review
In the intricate ensemble think-piece "Thirteen Conversations About One Thing," karma-fueled philosophical allegories revolve around contentment, resentfulness, self-fulfillment and other cinematic soul-food themes.
An intelligent, earnest, intimate film that drops the ball only when it pauses for blunt exposition to make sure you're getting its metaphysical point, this second effort from the writing-directing sisters Karen and Jill Sprechter ("Clockwatchers") consists of a knotted string of stories that are not necessarily profound or even all that memorable. But it's a movie with such realistic characters and humbly consequential performances that it leaves a subconscious impression nevertheless.
The interwoven vignettes imagined by the Sprechters begin with a punctilious, moth-eaten academic (John Turturro) leaving his wife (Amy Irving) after a mugging that leads him to decide he's been living an unsatisfying life. But soon he's even more frustrated because he hasn't a clue how to find that missing satisfaction.
Continue reading: Thirteen Conversations About One Thing Review
Have campus comedies really reached the point where fashionable, ante-upping gross-out gags are obligatory? I...