[[caption-width-right:300:Don't graduate...celebrate.]]

->''"You shouldn't take life too seriously, you'll never get out alive"''.

The charming Van Wilder (Creator/RyanReynolds) has attended Coolidge College for seven years and knows all the ins and outs of student life at that college. He's upbeat, throws the wildest parties and is pretty much just an all-around awesome guy loved by all. Van is just simply...[[TheAce the man]].

After a series of comedic incidents, his father finds out that Van has been wasting his life at college and cuts him off from the college fund. Now Van has only a few months left to graduate and win the heart of a journalism major Gwen Pearson (Tara Reid). However, she's dating an arrogant medical student who is trying to get Van expelled. HilarityEnsues.

The 2002 film is another entry in the Franchise/NationalLampoon movies. While it had a low budget and negative critical reviews, Creator/RyanReynolds managed to pull off the silly gags with flying colors, and it did pretty well at the box office. Unfortunately, it spawned an even less successful spin-off sequel ''Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj'' and a [[DirectToVideo direct-to-DVD]] {{prequel}} ''Van Wilder: Freshman Year''.


* ArtifactTitle: ''Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj'' doesn't feature Van at all.
* BigBad: Richard Bagg in the first film.
** Pip Everett in the sequel.
* BiggusDickus: One of the art students comments that he's gonna need a bigger pencil to sketch a nude Van.
* BigManOnCampus: A rare case where he graduated to the position after being a HighSchoolHustler... and couldn't figure out what to do next.
* BlackBestFriend: Hutch.
* BoyMeetsGirl: A version of this is used with Van and Gwen.
** And Van and Kaitlin in ''Freshman Year''
* BrilliantButLazy: Van, who merely does the minimum required to remain a student, which is the reason for the conflict with Professor [=McDougal=]. In a subversion, Van instead devotes his energies to helping the Student Body in anyway he can.
* {{Catchphrase}}: Van's repeated use of "Write that down." after giving someone else advice.
** Which he actually [[NotSoDifferent got from his dad]].
** Also, "Don't be a fool, stay in school."
* TheCharmer: Van to pretty much everyone.
* ChivalrousPervert: Van flirts mercilessly with Gwen but he never actually makes a pass at her since he knows she has a boyfriend, even though the guy is a complete Jerkass.
** He does the same thing with Kaitlin in ''Freshman Year''.
* DrenchCelebration: in ''Van Wilder: Freshman Year'': After the football team finally win a game, they grab the Gatorade coolers, pass the coach and dump them on the scantily clad cheerleaders.
* EatingTheEyeCandy: Gwen is clearly pleased with what she sees when Van is posing for the art class.
* FunPersonified: Van Wilder. He has the amazing ability to take nearly any situation and make it ''awesome''. Just ask the JerkAss Richard's parents.
* FunWithAcronyms: Richard's Greek fraternity, '''D'''elta '''I'''ota '''K'''appa.
-->'''Van:''' Richard you rascal, you never told me you were a DIK! ''(under his breath)'' Not that you had to...
** And in the prequel, the '''D'''aughters '''I'''n '''C'''hrist's '''K'''ingdom.
*** There's also the '''L'''ambda '''O'''mega '''O'''megas, the Geek fraternity.
** Van has his initials (V.W.) emblazoned on his golf cart.
* FunnyForeigner: Taj Mahal Badalandabad
** Played straight with Yu Dum Fook in ''Freshman Year'', [[spoiler:and then subverted with TheReveal that he's actually Van's father's chief of security, planted at Coolidge to keep an eye on Van & not actually a Foreigner.]]
* HotForStudent: A '''very''' gross example of this is Van Wilder and one of his teachers who is well over her fifties. The things he did to stay in college...
* HumiliationConga: The LaxativePrank Richard experiences.
* IAteWhat: The "dog pastries".
* IKEAErotica: Richard having sex with Gwen.
* {{Jerkass}}: Richard.
* KickTheDog: Richard gives alcohol to children to make Van look bad.
* LaxativePrank: Gwen does this to Richard after finding out he cheated on her - just before his med school exam and interview. HilarityEnsues.
* ManicPixieDreamGirl: Gender-flipped, with Van serving as this to Gwen convincing her to take things less seriously. Gwen herself is an inversion, as it's meeting her that convinces Van to finally grow up.
* MeaningfulName: Richard Bagg, and the Delta Iota Kappas. ''Just think about it for a second''. Lampshaded by Van.
* MrFanservice: It's ''Ryan Reynolds''.
* MsFanservice: Kristin Cavallari in ''Freshman Year''. Also, Charlotte in "The Rise of Taj". Don't forget the Topless Tutors in the first movie.
* NoFourthWall: Van Wilder narrates his story and even turns to stare at the camera during certain humorous instances. Not unlike [[Comicbook/{{Deadpool}} another character Ryan Reynolds would go on to represent on the silver screen...]]
** Jonathan Bennett gets in on the act at the end of ''Freshman Year'' whilst playing the younger Van.
---> '''Kaitlin''': But what about the party?
---> '''Van Wilder''': Trust Me. ''Van looks into the camera.'' There'll be more.
* PersonalArcade: In ''The Rise of Taj'', Taj adorns the Cock and Bulls living room with several creature comforts, including a widescreen TV and a "Miss Nude America" pinball machine.
* PresentDayPast: Van has an iPhone in ''Freshman Year''... The ''prequel'' to the 2002 film. Further compounded by the fact that Van's been at Coolidge 7 years, thus making Van's freshman year... 1995.
* PunnyName: "Suk Mee".
* SexComedy
* SmugSnake: Richard. Also, Pip in the sequel.
* SternTeacher: Professor [=McDougal=] seems like just a JerkAss until later on it's found out he's really a ReasonableAuthorityFigure who just wants Van Wilder to stop [[BrilliantButLazy wasting his potential]].
* TelevisionGeography: The climax is funny for people familiar with the campus of UCLA: Van Wilder's sprint from his dorm (actually Royce Hall, which contains lecture halls, classrooms, and a theater) to his final exam (which happens to be located in the building next door) seems to have him teleporting all over campus and often running in the opposite direction of where he ends up.
* UnusualEuphemism: Taj is just ''full'' of these.
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: The title character is very loosely based on comedian Bert Kreischer, whose life story was optioned by Creator/OliverStone when ''Rolling Stone'' published an article about his life as a sixth-year undegraduate party animal at Florida State University. After the rights expired, the screenwriters turned their unused script into ''Van Wilder.''