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American Pie

Reviewed By PyThomas
Posted 07/26/99 15:14:39

"Putting some new twists in the age-old 'quest for poon' tale."
4 stars (Worth A Look)

I didn't want this to become a movie "milestone". I guess I was still kinda miffed that "Can't Hardly Wait" from the previous year was just as good and yet didn't get the humongous publicity that "American Pie" did.

Oh, don't get me wrong... the movie's funny as hell, and there's lots of hilarious plot twists... I mean, the 4 stars I gave it aren't a mistake, the film definitely earns 'em. I wasn't impressed at first, but this film did grow on me. It also helped that "American Pie" was NOT set in California (as 80% of teenage flicks seem to be), but in a small town in Michigan.

For the most part, all the actors and actresses involved are fresh faces. Not many previous films come to mind, save for Natasha Lyonne (Slums of Beverly Hills) and Chris Klein (Election). SCTV vet Eugene Levy is basically the parental comic foil here, playing a dad who tries too hard to be "with-it" in discussing the birds-n-bees to his son, Jim (Jason Biggs).

Jim himself has made a pact with his three friends Oz (Chris Klein), Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), and Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), whereas all four of them would lose their virginity by prom night. Two factors prompted this pact: the constant ribbing of their sexual inadequacy by token heel Stifler (Seann William Scott), and the announcement of the four's object of ridicule, Sherman (Chris Owen, the kleptomaniac sight gag in "Can't Hardly Wait"), that he had an allnighter with a classmate.

And so we follow the four as they prepare for the Big Night. Kevin's big brother bestows upon him the Secret Sex Guide in an effort to totally satisfy his girlfriend, Victoria (Tara Reid); Finch starts exaggerated rumors about himself that ultimately backfire; Oz joins a choir group (an "untapped resource") in hopes of wooing a cute girl singer there.

And Jim, well, he gets most of the screen time in his misadventures, one involving a foreign exchange student and a JenniCAM-esque Internet broadcast, and another involving a warm apple pie (hence the title of the movie). Eventually he asks a band geek (Alyson Hannigan) to the prom, unaware of what he's getting himself into. (Believe me, the results are some of the most hysterical parts of the movie.)

Although the gags hit and miss, you gotta give the writers credit for putting some fresh plots into a tired teens-coming-of-age-and-trying-to-get-some premise. The females, for once, have just as much dialogue about sex as the males. A gag involving beer and jizz, while not really original anymore after There's Something About Mary's cum-cum-styling gel bit, is still a gut-buster. And originality points are easy to come by when you involve the more trendy parts of the Internet.

All the stars involved give enthusiastic performances, that given the supposed build-up to this film, should boost their acting careers. Tara Reid sizzles on screen. Natasha Lyonne seems under-used a bit. Alyson Hannigan is a fucking hoot, as well as Jason Biggs. Chris Klein does a fine job here, but after two nice-guy roles in a row, he should try for more challenging roles after this - the guy has too much potential to be typecast.

So, basically, is American Pie funny? Yes, very much so. Deserving of the mantle of Event Comedy of the Year? Sure. Let's just hope that no one involved with this film gets typecast... and Jason Biggs becomes known for much more than just a "pie-fucker".

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