Infamous college movies appeared in the seventies & have since refused to disappear. – Nor will they anytime soon, despite all decency… They thrust forward the passionate nature of American youths. & yet these stories have a moral ending: Punishing outrages against democracy.
At the end, all the students come together to help Van Wilder graduate. Further, the girl redeems him by persuading everyone he is really just like them, if better. Whereas the rich fratboy pre-med is irredeemable: Repressed homosexual, the joke has it; likely, the passive partner…
‘Leisure studies’ is our protagonist’s degree: The latter-day university in a pun. The new order of university & students makes Van Wilder possible. Our story is Van Wilder’s redemption of the university, which ironically has to do with leisure & seriousness both – which are both undemocratic.
The end of the story is our beginning: The girl tells Van Wilder she is not wearing underwear anymore. He has somehow managed to attract her attention, arouse her desire, attach her affection, & one or two other things overnight. Sentimentality aside, Van Wilder is nearly a god of sexual desire. He is handsome, therefore a beloved; somewhat manly, therefore a lover. Years of partying leave him unscathed. Above fulfilling college kids’ dreams, he enacts their dreams with the easy grace of the successful. Oh, insufferable arrogance, a tyranny of the beautiful!
Rule over college students is consensual, just like college sex; Van Wilder, like the latter-day university, sells pleasure for tuition. He is uniquely able to arouse the sexual passions in college & without, young & old, human & otherwise. But below the humor is a concern with the good of the ruled. He helps charities, school sports, outcasts, prostitutes, & other needy groups. He has the haves pay for the have-nots. But really, he keeps students in college: The sexual frenzy attending him, & which precedes him, never explodes.
America is sexual promiscuity, the Indian boy believes, although he fails to indulge his lust. Apparently, his imagination is the problem. Finally, he meets an Indian girl from the same city as him. Van Wilder does not offer youths cosmopolitan & cosmic lust, after all, but something parochial & conservative. He has lived in college more than anyone should; he knows revolutions must be preempted.
Knowledge of sex allows Wilder to give people what they deserve: He does justice. Comedy is a form of cruelty, punishment, revenge. His immoral, impious dealing with sex is merely minding his own business. The girl is minding the public business. Being a reporter is ambitiously singing the nation’s belief in morality & progress. She wants to publish the truth about Van Wilder, but that truth is essentially private.
The college comedy of its decade