American Pie (1999) / Comedy
MPAA Rated: R for strong sexuality, crude sexual dialogue, language and drinking, all involving teens
Running Time: 95 min.
Cast: Jason Biggs, Shannon Elizabeth, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Seann William Scott, Eugene Levy, Natasha Lyonne, Mena Suvari, Jennifer Coolidge, Chris Owen, Christina Milian, John Cho (cameo), Casey Affleck (cameo)
Director: Paul Weitz
Screenplay: Adam Herz
American Pie is about four high school boys on the verge of graduation who form a pact to all lose their virginity before leaving high school. They all try their hardest but find out it isn't just isn't as easy as pie as they thought. Pretty simple plot, huh?
Overall, American Pie is a well-directed and smartly-cast film that has a few amusing moments amid a tired plot and surprisingly long stretches of vacuous filler. It's notorious for sinking to new lows in the gross-out humor department, but even in that regard, it isn't particularly different than some of the dumb comedies which were churned out in the mid-80s like Porky's, Losin' It and One Crazy Summer. Granted,the intended audience of contemporary youth for American Pie will be largely unfamiliar with most of the garbage which splashed across the screens in the 1980s and will find this movie is something original, especially compared to similar films that are watered down once the PG-13 rating became the norm for teen fare.
American Pie does deliver an occasional chuckle and a likeable cast, but its lack of depth and emptiness of inspiration make this just another teen sex comedy full of low-brow humor and an absence of insightfulness.
If you're still at the level of maturity where uncontrolled defecation and the mistaken imbibing of sexual fluids are laugh-out-loud funny, you will probably enjoy American Pie, because it definitely doesn't skimp out. Those still looking for this generation's The Graduate (or even Risky Business) won't find it here.
-- Followed by American Pie 2 (2001) and American Wedding (2003). The series would spin off into straight-to-video features: American Pie Band Camp (2005), American Pie: The Naked Mile (2006) and American Pie Presents: Beta House (2007).
©1999 Vince Leo