The curse of the sequel, will it ever truly be broken. Not by today’s movie that is for sure. See, when you make a sequel to a movie, it is not going to be as successful if you don’t have the star of the movie. That is just common movie logic. Nothing against Kal Penn because I think he is a very funny actor but without Ryan Reynolds, you really lack the necessary draw for this movie. That’s just my opinion but let’s see if I am right in regards to today’s movie, National Lampoon’s Van Wilder 2: The Rise Of Taj.
The plot: Taj Mahal Badalandabad, former personal assistant to Van Wilder, has just graduated from Coolidge College and is now heading to England. He plans to attend Camford University in the hopes of following in his father’s footsteps; not just by getting a degree from there, but also to join an exclusive Fraternal Guild called the Fox and Hounds and become the self proclaimed “Sultan of Snatch.” Arriving at the campus, Taj, along with his pet bulldog Ballzac, finds a golf cart waiting for him courtesy of Van and heads off to the Fox and Hounds house. When he gets there, he meets Pip Everett, the Earl of Grey and head of the Fox and Hounds, who tells Taj that there was a typo and that he was not accepted into the Fraternal Guild. He is then told that the only available housing option available for him is at a house called the Barn and after he leaves, it is revealed that the acceptance letter was merely a joke that Pip and the others play on people every year. Taj and Ballzac make their way to the Barn to find a run down looking building. Inside, Taj introduces himself as the Head of House to the students inside; an English hating Irishman named Seamus, a stereotypical nerd named Gethin, a quiet kid that hardly talks called Simon, and a Cockney girl with a gutter mouth named Sadie. Realizing that he will have a rough road ahead, Taj’s first step is to renovate the Barn and after hearing that the Fox and Hounds did the same thing to the others that they did to him, he insists that they go with him and attend am Innagural Ball that the Fox and Hounds are hosting. After giving Sadie, Seamus, and Gethin a pep talk and sending them off to have fun, Taj spots a woman on the dance floor and, infatuated with her, manages to get her to dance with him. As they are dancing, Pip comes up to them and Taj learns that the girl’s name is Charlotte and that she is Pip’s girlfriend. When Pip tries to put Taj and the other’s down again, Taj tells the assembled crowd that he is starting a new house called the Cock and Balls and they plan on challenging for the Hastings Cup, an award given out for academic and athletic challenges. The next day, Taj is teaching his first class in history and finding the subject matter boring, tells the class to throw the text books out the window, which causes him to get on Charlotte’s bad side as she is his supervisor and wants him to follow the curriculum. After losing to the Fox and Hounds in the first athletic competition, Taj and the other Cock and Balls are driven to succeed after Pip tries to demean them. When Charlotte sees Taj and his housemates outside the Fox and Hounds house, she questions what he is doing and he says it is a field trip to see how the aristocracy live. Goaded into a challenge by Taj over their differences in teaching styles, Charlotte challenges and beats Taj in a fencing match, then says she will accompany him on his field trip so she can explain why she is firing him. The next day, Taj takes his class on a field trip through London and Charlotte admits to being wrong and having a good time on the trip when she remembers a Literary Ball that she was supposed to attend. Charlotte brings Taj along as her guest, which upsets Pip and he tries to humiliate Taj by having him recite some British poetry but Taj decides to recite various song lyrics from British artists, which the crowd enjoys. As Taj and Charlotte end up spending more time together and getting closer, the Cock and Balls manage to move up in the rankings, causing some of the Fox and Hounds to become concerned. Pip and his friends decide to try and sabotage Ballzac before the dog show competition but Taj sees them and manages to grab the drugged food before Ballzac eats it and instead, gives it to Pip’s dog Chauncey. At the dog show, Chauncey ends up having sex with another dog, resulting in his disqualification and Ballzac winning the competition and putting Cock and Balls in second place in the Hastings Cup. That night, the Cock and Balls throw a victory party and Charlotte shows up and has Taj go with her into the woods to see the Persephone Comet before she kisses him. Meanwhile, Pip has Alexandria, whose twin sister Penelope is dating Gethin, sneaks into the house and plants stolen test answers in some of the student’s rooms, then Pip shows up with Provost Cunningham and they find them. At a disciplinary hearing, Cunningham is prepared to expel Gethin, Sadie, Seamus, and Simon but Taj takes the fall in exchange for letting his students stay in school. Cunningham agrees and Taj is expelled and Charlotte refuses to speak with him. The Cock and Balls are forced to take a different exam, which they pass in order to stay in school. Meanwhile, Charlotte is looking through some pictures of the party that she took and sees one of Alexandria with the test answers. She goes to see Taj and they head to the final event of the Hastings Cup and manage to get Taj reinstated so he can face Pip in a fencing match. After each of them score one point, Pip gets mad when he sees Taj and Charlotte kiss and challenges Taj to a first blood match with real swords. Taj manages to win when he throws the urn containing the ashes of Pip’s ancestors and Pip fails to catch it, allowing Taj to quickly slash him on the butt and win the match and the Hastings Cup. Afterwards, Penelope drags Alexandria forward to confess that Pip actually stole the exams and Pip ends up expelled and Taj and Charlotte kiss as they celebrate with the rest of the Cock and Balls.
National Lampoon’s Van Wilder 2: The Rise Of Taj was pretty much panned by the critics, only earning a 7% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that it is, “A low-brow comedy, minus the comedy.” To help promote the movie, Kal Penn, Art Alexakis of Everclear, and Jonny Dubowsky of Jonny Lives! toured college campuses. It didn’t help much as the movie only made a little over $6 million at the box office but in spite of this, the studio still made a prequel, but released it straight to DVD.
Some funny parts but nowhere near as good as the original. The acting was good and Kal Penn did a good job of reprising his original character. Lauren Cohan (Charlotte) and Daniel Percival (Pip) were also good but my favorite character was Holly Davidson (Sadie) just because her dialogue was really funny. The story was your typical group of misfits fighting against a bunch of snobs so it wasn’t really original in the least. The humor was definitely on the adult side and once again, the went a little far with the whole dog semen bit. Seriously, I think someone might need some help there. Anyways, it does make you laugh at times but it will never be considered a comedy classic.
Rating: 2 out of 5