Worth A Look: 26.8%
Just Average: 10.5%
Pretty Crappy: 6.91%
17 reviews, 260 user ratings
by Ryan Arthur
American Pie is the teen version of There's Something About Mary,
the red-headed stepchild of a John Hughes movie cross pollinated
with Porky's and a dash of Can't Hardly Wait, and haunted by the
ghost of Fast Times At Ridgemont High. It's a teenage sex comedy
(with a bit of heart). It's Mallrats with better advance hype.Is it good? Well, there are parts of it that are quite funny. But there are tedious stretches as well. The trailer for this film, as is the case for all trailers, makes it seem better than it is.
"One time, in band camp...."
We jump in as Jim (Jason Biggs) gets caught spanking it to a scrambled porn channel. That pretty much sets the tone. Jim is a virgin, as are his friends Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Oz (Election's Chris Klein) and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas). Kev has a girlfriend, Vicky (Tara Reid), but everyone else is flying solo. Following a party where the four of them strike out (save for Kevin, who gets a blowjob, but alas, no nookie) and the high school's resident geek claims a conquest, the four guys make a pact to lose their virginity by prom night.
What follows are the lengths they'll go to to get some. Whether it's Oz's attempts to woo Heather (Mena Suvari) in Jazz Choir, or Jim's plan to broadcast the images of the hot foreign exchange student (Shannon Elizabeth, sporting the only - but much appreciated - nudity in the film) changing her clothes in his bedroom over the Internet, Kevin using the sagely advice and "sex-bible" of his older brother (Casey Affleck, in cameo, much to the delight of spork-girl) or even Finch's plan to create a certain mystique about himself through the help of Jessica's (Natasha Lyonne, last seen in Slums Of Beverly Hills) well placed gossip, each guy has a plan. Does it work? Sort of.
There are genuinely funny bits in the unfortunately titled American Pie, from the oft-mentioned scene between Jim and an unwilling apple pie, to the use of semen as a prop. The gross-out humor that is so prevalent in the summer of '99 rolls on. It works for the most part. But the film gets sort of touchy-feely in the final act, and the humor is a bit more sporadic.
The performances in American Pie are fine, though. Biggs' Jim is a standout for me, as is Klein. He was better in Election, but that was a better movie, so he can be forgiven. All the female leads are quite lovely, and all slip into their roles quite well.
Suvari and Reid are radiant, and Buffy's Alyson Hannigan steals the show as Michelle, a band geek who's not nearly the wallflower Jim thinks she is. She gets the film's best lines, (and best story, involving a flute and an orifice) all in the last 20 minutes. All the band geeks I knew were never that hot.In the end, American Pie wavers between gross-out crowd pleaser
and would-be message movie. It drags in places, and the audience
is left to wait for the next big bodily function joke. It's not
bad, but it's not really the breakout hit it should be and that
box office experts say it is.
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originally posted: 07/11/99 02:59:34
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