Every generation, we get a new batch of films from the teen sex comedy genre. Like the name suggests, these films are comedies that focus on one thing, a bunch of teenagers attempting to have sex. Back in the 80’s, there was Porky’s and Revenge Of The Nerds. I’m sure there were similar films in the 70’s and 60’s, but they might have been relegated more to the drive-ins and not been able to achieve as much fame. Then in 1999, movie audiences were introduced to the gang from East Great Falls High in today’s movie, American Pie.
The plot: High school seniors Jim Levenstein, Chris “Oz” Ostreicher, Kevin Myers, and Paul Finch are attending a party at their friend Steve Stifler’s house. When it seems like Chuck Sherman, one of their classmates, lost his virginity at the party, the four friends decide to make a pact to lose their virginity by their senior prom. However, Jim, Oz, and Finch do not have girlfriends and while Kevin is dating Vicky Lathum, they are having problems with their relationship since she feels he only wants sex from her. Kevin works on repairing his relationship with Vicky, even asking his brother for advise on what to do. Oz joins the choir and ends up meeting Heather, who is reluctant to start dating Oz, but when he chooses to leave during the lacrosse championship game in order to do a duet with her during a choir competition, she agrees to go to the prom. Finch has Vicky’s friend Jessica spread rumors about him around school, hoping to get girls interested in him. But when Stifler is turned down by a girl because of those rumors, he puts laxatives in Finch’s drink and tricks him into using the girl’s restroom, ruining his reputation when he emerges. Meanwhile, Jim has been trying to get the attention of Nadia, a foreign exchange student, when she suddenly asks Jim if he will help her with her classwork, to which he says yes and they agree to meet at Jim’s house. Jim is convinced to set up a webcam so his friends can watch Nadia change clothes but he accidentally emails the link to everyone in the school. Not only does Nadia’s exchange family see the video, and send her home as a result, but the rest of his classmates see Jim embarrass himself when he prematurely ejaculates twice. However, things seem to look up for him when Michelle, a member of the school band, begins talking to Jim so he asks her to the prom. At the prom, the guys learn that Sherman did not actually have sex at the party and so the pressure seems to be off of them to have sex. During the after party at Stifler’s house, all four friends wind up having sex; Kevin, Oz, and Jim having sex with their respective prom dates while Finch winds up having sex with Stifler’s mom, which causes Stifler to faint at his discovering it. The next day, the four friends meet up at their favorite diner and toast each other to the next step on their lives.
American Pie met with mixed reviews from the critics, earning only a 61% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Many of the film’s detractors felt that the film was simply a shallow and tasteless high school romp, although Roger Ebert did say that the movie was cheerful and the characters were somewhat sweet and lovable. Despite what the critics said, the film would wind up making over $235 million worldwide. It also spawned 7 sequels; 3 of them theatrical releases and 4 direct to video movies.
The biggest problem with this movie is that it really added nothing new to the genre. The acting was pretty good, with some people doing a better job than others. I really did like the father/son dynamic between Eugene Levy and Jason Biggs (Jim and his dad) as it did show how it can be embarrassing for some parents to talk to their kids about sex. There were a couple of funny scenes and lines from this movie. Let’s face it, I think everyone has heard the phrase “This one time, at band camp…” over the last 15 years and the pie scene is pretty much the only thing Jason Biggs is really going to be remembered for, as shown in Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back. It is good for a laugh but there are better comedies out there. I just can’t believe this thing had 7 sequels.
Rating: 3 out of 5