Release Date: July 09, 1999
Starring: Jason Biggs, Jennifer
Coolidge, Shannon Elizabeth,
Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein,
Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Ian
Nicholas, Tara Reid, & Eugene
Runtime: 95 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Director: Paul Weitz
Producer: Warren Zide, Craig Perry,
Chris Moore, & Chris Weitz
Writer: Adam Herz
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The main loser in this story is Jim (Jason Biggs), a senior without any particular talent who is caught by his parents looking at scrambled pornography on cable television. His all too understanding father (Eugene Levy) realizes his son is growing up and purchases pornography magazines in a stupid attempt to teach his son about sex. A Czech exchange student, Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth), one day comes over to the house to study with Jim, and she changes clothes in his room and pleasures herself. All the while, Jim and the entire school are watching her through Jim's internet camera.
Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) has a girlfriend, Vicky (Tara Reid), but she is reluctant to have sex because she wants to hear Kevin tell her that he loves her. Nevertheless, they practice every sexual act just short of intercourse. Oz (Chris Klein, who played a sexually charged character in ELECTION) tries working on his sensitivity to woo his choral partner Heather (Mena Suvari). Finally, Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) manufactures rumors about his sexual prowess in hopes of attracting a willing partner.
As these relationships and plans are worked, sexual jokes abound, some disgusting humor like vomiting and accidentally drinking a body fluid are depicted, and Jim gets "intimate" with a warm, freshly baked apple pie. All men make it to the prom, and a few learn that relationship and friendship are important with members of the opposite sex, but all men still seek the "prize," including a rendezvous with a classmate's mother!
In the vein of the Farelly brothers, brothers Chris and Paul Weitz have created this testosterone comedy. One sexual gag after another does not make a good story, however. Script and camera work in AMERICAN PIE rank quite low, with only the enthusiasm of the cast carrying this weak picture. It is a one-joke movie containing no balance, no happily satisfied virgin, no reason to stay celibate, and a cast of mainly stereotypical "horny, high school hunks."
This movie is a little different in that it does have a few multi-dimensional female roles. Thankfully, the women aren't just pieces of flesh to be had, but they are also more than willing partners in the "sexcapades." A few of them in fact seem more cunning than their male counterparts.
Perhaps more disturbing than the sex itself are a few ideas behind the sex. One, the father actually encourages his son in fornication and pornography use. Thus, the story makes parents complicit in their children's sexual immorality. Secondly, the movie continually foists condom use on the audience. It is as if the filmmakers knew this movie would whip its hormonally filled weak-willed audiences into a sexual frenzy, and, hence, they must tell them to be "safe" when you do it. Finally, the movie touches on the importance of having friendship and a respectful relationship with young women, but then still provides a (sorry but this is a plot term) climax for the four feisty fellows in the story. Thus, "knowing females is O.K., but only because they like it and it may help you get into bed with them" is the main message of this movie.
This summer doesn't need any more gross-out comedies. It has more than enough. Many of the males in the mainly teenage audience who saw this movie at a sneak preview did howl and cheer at the jokes, but many of their young women dates groaned and snickered. It is hard to imagine anyone older than the depicted age group seeking out, let alone enjoying, AMERICAN PIE, so the filmmakers have created a very narrow "niche" movie which, if the theater owners are cracking down on minors seeing R-rated movies, may find filling seats difficult. Nevertheless, Universal's advertising for this movie is clearly geared toward teenagers and word of mouth notoriety has been rampant.