Van Wilder: Party Liaison (2002)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 8-Oct-2002

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Can't Hardly Wait; Joe Dirt; Not Another Teen Movie; Tomcats
Music Video-Bouncing Off The Walls-Sugarcult
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 88:53 (Case: 92)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Walt Becker
Studio
Distributor
Myriad Pictures
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Ryan Reynolds
Tara Reid
Kal Penn
Daniel Cosgrove
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music David Lawrence


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Since American Pie gave rebirth to the 'teen sex' genre, we have been swamped with plenty of films capitalising on our love of immature gags. Some have been good, like the aforementioned American Pie, or Road Trip...and some have been bad, like Tomcats or The Sweetest Thing. Van Wilder: Party Liaison is another in this line of films, and it is exactly what you expect. It is not as good as the best, but by no means is it as bad as the worst. It has a few decent jokes and set ups, but it basically keeps to a formula portrayed in the Rodney Dangerfield comedy, Back To School, from the mid 80's.

    Van Wilder (Ryan Reynolds) is a senior at Coolidge College. He has been there for 7 years and is more of a campus hero than anything else - he does not go to class, but instead plans zany schemes to 'paaartay' and have fun. When his father does not see the future in paying for Van's college education anymore, he puts a stop to his funding and Van is forced to fend for himself to keep him in the lifestyle he is accustomed to.

    He works out through trial and error that his greatest skill is organising parties and being a 'big man on campus', so he starts up his own business along with his Indian assistant Taj Mahal and becomes Van Wilder: Party Liaison. All the while he is being pursued by the straitlaced Gwen Pearson (Tara Reid) who is trying to interview him for the college paper. Add Gwen's jealous boyfriend, the nerds, the jocks, the big breasted cheerleaders, the uptight faculty members and a dog with some major floating devices and you have enough gags to satisfy your audience who have obviously left their brains at the door.

    In the end, this film is not THAT bad. It has a couple of jokes that are genuinely funny, but they use their shock element for most of their set pieces. Reynolds turns in a decent performance as Wilder - he plays it like Chevy Chase with a hint of Jim Carrey, and carries the film well enough. Reid is another story however- every shot of her in this film has bright lights reflecting in her eyes to make her baby blues shine out while she delivers another line exactly how she did the last one. She is only there for 'face' value and does not do much for the film itself.

    Van Wilder: Party Liaison is a better than average 'teen sex' comedy, but that does not necessarily mean that it is everyone's cup of tea.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer of this film is flawed due to its high level of grain and aliasing, as well as its lack of shadow detail.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 Enhanced.
 
    The main problem with this transfer is its lack of sharpness and shadow detail. For a film that is set on the sunny backdrop of college life, you would expect that there would be a huge amount of bright, deep colours that would fly off the screen. There is one shot that appears out of focus at 60:55, but I believe that this problem stems from the production of the film, not the DVD. This is not the case as this plays with a lot of scenes where the on screen presentation is marred by murky images where it is hard to see what is going on. The most specific references are at 38:43 and 39:50. Coupled with this artefact is a massive amount of grain throughout the film, particularly at 28:40, 34:03, 38:41, 38:43, 39:50, 40:46, 44:02, 53:23 and 62:55. Together, these two problems make some of the film very unclear and difficult to watch as the quality at times is reminiscent of a VHS tape. There are a couple of instances of edge enhancement noticed at 41:02, 60:55, 83:01 and 83:12. They are fairly minor, but still worth noting for the record.

    As mentioned above, the colours in this film should have been bright and beautiful. Again this is not the case due to its high amount of grain and lack of definition which makes the film appear dark and dirty. The colours do not leap off the screen like they did in the cinema, but there are no colour related artefacts to speak of.

    There are no MPEG related artefacts, but a lot of film to video related artefacts in the form of aliasing. Noticed at 3:33, 7:59, 31:51, 40:01, 40:48, 41:21, 42:54, 43:18 and 67:00, these artefacts are very distracting from the action on screen. There are also a lot of film artefacts with the worst examples at 32:29 and 32:30 and to a lesser extent at 36:39.

    There are no subtitles recorded.

    This is not an RSDL formatted disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    For a film that was released in 2002, it is a major disappointment that we are treated to only a Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack. Skimping on this soundtrack as well as only delivering us a single-layered disc reeks of a half-baked job for this film.

    The dialogue often was drowned out by the surrounding music and effects. Often I had to rewind the film and turn the sound up to hear what was being said and then turn it down again a couple of minutes later when the sound came back up again. The actual clarity of what was being said was also sub-standard - I do not know whether this was a problem with the production of the film or of the DVD. There were no obvious problems with audio synch.

    The music in this film is primarily contemporary songs from the radio. They pop up from time to time during party scenes and go away again just as quickly. The original music in the film is by David Lawrence.

    There is next to no surround presence in the entire film.

    The subwoofer is not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are disappointingly few extras on show here.

Menu

    The menu is a static shot of the front cover of the DVD. It has some music from the film playing as the dog shakes his head around.

Featurette (3:45)

    Clocking in at a whopping 3:45, this 'featurette' is just some quick video grabs of the producer and some of the crew talking about the film. Not really very much here. It is in a ratio of 1.33:1.
 

Theatrical Trailers (5)

    Here are the trailers for Van Wilder: Party Liaison, Can't Hardly Wait, Joe Dirt, Not Another Teen Movie and Tomcats. They are presented in varying aspect ratios and all suffer from a lack of sharpness with a lot of grain.

Music Video-    'Bouncing Off The Walls'

    Performed by Sugarcult, this clip features some clips from the film as well as other footage of Tara Reid and Ryan Reynolds. It is presented in a ratio of 1.33:1 and suffers from terrible aliasing and pixelation.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

 

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:

    The Region 1 Unrated version of this disc misses out on;     Well, if there ever was a disc that Region 4 has missed the boat on... All reports will indicate that not only are the extra features on the Region 1 disc better, but the sound and picture quality are of a fantastic standard as well. Region 1 is the winner here by a country mile.

Summary

    In summary, Van Wilder: Party Liaison is another teen flick that deserves a couple of laughs and succeeds on that level. It does not break any new ground whatsoever, but if you can switch off your brain, then there might be something for you here. The DVD however is a very haphazard job that has skimped on both a good video and audio transfer.

    The video is grainy, dirty and unclear.

    The audio is missing 3.1 channels and the dialogue gets drowned out.

    The extras are terrible.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Hugh Fotheringham (what the hell is going on in bio??)
Friday, October 04, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-S525, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos (81cm) 16:9. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS797- THX Select
SpeakersJamo X550 Left and Right, Jamo X5CEN Centre, Jamo X510 Surround

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Adrian T
AllZone4DVD - Frank D

Comments (Add)
R1 Extras - believe me. . .we're not missing out on much. - Cardiff Giant (Must have the word 'bio' or 'biography' in it)
Columbia/Tristar + Artisan = No Dice - DarkEye (This bio says: Death to DNR!)
Annoying Product Placement..... - TurkeyTom
Annoying Product Placement..... - garumph (read my bio)