American Pie 2 (2001) / Comedy-Romance
MPAA Rated: R for strong sexual content, crude humor, language, and drinking
Running Time: 108 min.
Cast: Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Shannon Elizabeth, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Natasha Lyonne, Tara Reid, Mena Suvari, Chris Owen, Eugene Levy, John Cho, Casey Affleck, Jennifer Coolidge
Director: J.B. Rogers
Screenplay: Adam Herz
Not being a huge fan of American Pie, I wasn't expecting much out of the sequel except for more of the same, and that's precisely what I received. American Pie 2 is strictly a commercial venture, like most sequels are, and merely exists to tap into a market created through feelings for the first film. Therefore, we get more of what the producers think people liked the first film for, i.e. gross-out jokes, heavy sexual innuendo, buttinski parents, and juvenile humor. However, where the first film surprised us with how far it was willing to go, showing such envelope pushing acts like a boy screwing a pie, a boy down a beer with semen in it, and another with uncontrollable defecation, we know they are going to try to top these moments with the sequel. There is no longer the element of surprise, and when we see some of the bathroom humor or sex gags play out, we not only fully expect them to happen, but we also know they are going to try to be as vulgar as will be allowed.
This time around we find the boys having just finished their first year of college, ready to party and have fun for the summer. They all decide to head where they think the babes will be, so they rent a beach house and plan to party all the time, party all the time, party all the time. Things aren't really proceeding according to plan, however. Jim (Biggs, Anythng Else) is going to be visited by Nadia (Elizabeth, Tomcats) , and he's worried that his lack of experience in the sex department is going to be the bane of his existence in the relationship department. Kev (Nicholas, The Rules of Attraction) isn't over the break up he's had with Vicky (Reid, Just Visiting), who seems to have had no problems in moving on. Heather (Suvari, Sugar & Spice) has gone off to school abroad, and her relationship with Oz (Klein, Election) has been reduced to the few minutes they can try to enjoy phone sex together. And yes, the rivalry between Stifler (Scott, Evolution) and Finch (Thomas, Winter Break), who is still obsessed with Stifler's mother (Coolidge, Legally Blonde), continues.
American Pie 2 seems rather uninspired, hastily slapped together to try to cash in while the property is still hot. Paul and Chris Weitz had directed the first film, but the sequel sees J.B. Rogers (Say It Isn't So) take over the helm, and coming off of a Farrelly-derived film, he has no qualms in showing the most vulgar and idiotic things possible. For the 100 minute running time, we get to see such highlights as one boy urinating on another's face, a masturbation nightmare involving crazy glue, a trumpet rammed into the rectum of one of the characters, and many other such inanities that may have you wincing more than you are laughing.
While there were moments of amusement in American Pie 2, they were few and far between. It's a step down from the first film because the creators failed to realize that what made the original a cut above other similar gross-out teen comedies was an underlying sweetness and identity with the characters that made them appealing, even if the level of humor was still as low-brow as can be imagined. The mistake has been made into thinking audiences just like to wallow in their own bodily fluids, and the serving up of all things disgusting without meaning only serve to make us numb to the prospects of more. The ending tries to recapture some of the sweet-natured charm of the first film, but it rings hollow after all that has come before, and we feel bored as a result.
American Pie 2 is recommended only for those who liked the first film for the moments of crass humor and could care less about the characters or their romantic interests. There is not much inspiration or story for anyone else who doesn't like to be grossed-out, and for long stretches, there isn't much going on at all except to set itself up for another disgusting scene. The success of this film probably warrants another sequel, but after the diminishing margins returned in this outing, the prospects of another slice of PIE has me retching even more than anything shown in the film.
©2002 Vince Leo