The college comedy of the early 2000s is an extremely specific brand of funny. What audiences find in comedy evolves and is heavily influenced by the current events they are speaking about. Caught in the eerie era between analog and digital, these eight films have no real modern comparison. And while technology has certainly changed the way students survive college, these films capture the inherent life lessons that everyone learns as they pursue higher education.
So, if viewers’ acceptance letters start to arrive, watching these stories for the first time will definitely help ease their nerves. And if they’re looking to revisit the glory days, these characters are perfect for reminding them of their undergraduate alcoholic tendencies.
Van Wilder of National Lampoon
National Lampoon released van Wilder in 2002 and ushered in a new era for the iconic comedy collection. The film starred Ryan Reynolds as the main character and introduced the world to his hyper-specific and always hilarious sarcasm. This film also starred Tara Reid, a former Obama administration Kal Penn and former National Lampoon actor Tim Mattheson. The film follows Van, a seventh-year elder who loves college and indoctrinates young students into the Coolidge College lifestyle. When his father, played by Mattheson, decides to stop paying his tuition, Van must get creative on how to pay for his education and diploma. Of course, hilarity ensues.
Old school is the seminal collegiate film that is a perfect time capsule of higher education in the early years. The story follows Mitch, Frank, and Beanie, three college friends who yearn for college’s glory days. When Mitch returns from a trip to find his cheating wife, Beanie convinces the three to change their lifestyle and start a fraternity.
This fan favorite is truly one for the ages. Directed by Todd Philips and starring Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn, Old school‘s Reception from fans and critics set the tone for low-budget comedies. Those who put this movie with friends after a soccer game will certainly find themselves citing it months later.
Accepted follows the downward trajectory of an 18-year-old high school graduate named Bartleby, played by Justin Long. When Bartleby, who calls himself “B”, and his friends aren’t accepted into the colleges they wanted, B decides to start a school to impress his father. B and his friend Schrader, Jonah Hill, turn a doomed mental hospital into the South Harmon Institute of Technology. An inspired choice, indeed.
The particularity of the film is certainly Hill’s performance as Sherman Schrader. While having a few small credits before, this was Hill’s first big hit to make a name for himself. Looking at Hill’s delivery, the potential of the young actor is more than clear. Hill went on to become one of the preeminent comedic actors of the early 2000s and helped set the bar for comedies to come.
Travel by car
Todd Philips’ second film on the list follows four friends on their road trip from Ithaca, New York to Austin, Texas. Road trip movies can be hit and miss due to their stereotypical nature. But the antics of this group of friends are found in sets Travel by car apart from the rest. The plot of the film also relies very heavily on the MacGuffin of a VHS tape, which feels like a kind of time capsule. However, watching dated content where the main conflict would be easily resolved with modern technology allows audiences to appreciate the connectivity the world enjoys today.
american pie 2
The sequel to the 1999 hit, american pie 2 picks up after the gang’s first year at college ends. The sex comedy follows Kevin and his friends as they rent a beach house on Lake Michigan and get ready for the ultimate party to end the summer. For fans of physical and crazy humor, these features are an absolute must.
Although parts of the american pie series have not aged well, its success has undoubtedly created new possibilities for comedy. The american pie the movies, for better or for worse, addressed America’s taboo on young adult sex. While he broke that barrier in a scorching fashion, it did open the door to one of the most natural parts of life to openly mock the general public.
Land of adventure
Centered on a former Pittsburgh amusement park, this indie favorite features performances by some of the greatest comedic artists of the early 2000s. Summer employment is a staple of the American college experience, and Land of adventure perfectly captures the existential terror they create. Jesse Eisenberg plays James, a recent college graduate who has to save for his college education but can’t find a real job due to lack of experience. After landing a job at Adventureland, James finds himself trapped between adolescence and adulthood.
This is the second film on the list starring Ryan Reynolds, whose character could almost be Van Wilder several years later. The rest of the star-studded cast is made up of actors Bill Hader, Kristen Stewart, Kristen Wiig, and Martin Starr. Land of adventureThe comedy of is much drier than the burlesque nature of the other classics, but viewers will still find themselves in stitches.
Of course, there had to be at least one stoner comedy on that debut list. How high showcases the talents of Method Man and Redman as two smokers who manage to end up enrolled at Havard University. They achieve this with the help of their friend Ivory, who visits them as a ghost after the two accidentally smoke his ashes. How high is an iconic Fish Out of Water film that was way ahead of its time. The film subtly and openly tackles difficult topics like race in higher education and society’s expectations of black men. Method Man and Redman are a truly hilarious duo and do a terrific job asking tough questions in the most disarming and funny way.
This 2002 production by Nick Cannon is the best sports film on the drum line of a college marching band. It’s not quite as pure a comedy as the others on this list, but for modern audiences the title alone causes a slight laugh. Cannon plays Devon Miles, a recent high school graduate who travels from New York to Atlanta to play drums at a historically black fictional college, A&T. With hindsight, a large part Battery lineThe s comedy has now emerged from the humorous cinema of the early 2000s. However, the drum sequences in the film certainly hold up and are choreographed incredibly well. Movies like this are no longer being made and the novelty alone is worth seeing.
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