To the delight of teenagers and
college students everywhere, American Pie 2 is now available on DVD. It will become
a defining characteristic of the semester, watching AP2 with the bros and dreaming
of summer vacation (possibly spring break). And Id like to say that Id be
right with them, reliving the glory days vicariously through cinema, but American Pie 2
just doesnt deliver. So let me instead say that if you already love this movie,
then you will love the DVD release. It really is packed with about 10 hours worth of
enjoyment, including just about everything you could cram onto a DVD: interviews, casting
clips, bloopers, a documentary, games and lots more. You dont even need to read this
review; itll just upset you.
Im a connoisseur of the B movie. Thats
what AP2 aspires to be, a good time, laugh your balls off kind of film that you
dont spend time thinking about. It wants to be a film in the tradition of classics
like Porkys, Stripes, Meatballs, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Revenge
of the Nerds, Carwash and the myriad others in the genre. Bill Murray is a kind
of personal savior to me, and many of these movies, whether they feature Bill Murray or
not, are well worth the couple hours. And most of these films are somewhat marred by
I guess to a certain extent this review is unnecessary. Determine whether you should
watch, or even own, the American Pie 2 Collectors Edition Widescreen DVD
based not on whether you loved American Pie or not, but whether you loved the
sequels to any of the abovementioned classics. If you did love the hell out of AP1,
then youll probably feel similarly about the second. But for everyone else, who saw
the original as a nice showing for a genre that has mainly been relegated to cable
channels for the past decade, this sequel is one to miss.
Okay, lets start at the beginning. In a plot oddly reminiscent of the original, American
Pie 2 concerns itself mainly with the adventures of Jim (Jason Biggs), who has
returned, along with all of his buddies from the first movie, from college. The boys, not
content to spend a mundane summer living at home, rent a beach house on the lakeshore for
the summer. Early on, Jim learns that Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth) will visit him at the end
of summer, on the night of the huge bash, so they can fulfill the unfulfilled potential of
the first movie. Jim, nervous of his inexperience and inability to perform, enlists the
help of Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), the "flute girl" from the original film.
Wacky hijinx ensue, and Jim ends up turning down Nadia in order to go with true love (the
kind that involves thinking and feeling with the brain) and Michelle. Ooops, did I blow it
for you? As if you couldnt see that one coming.
For a movie so concerned with sex, theres very little in it. Nudity is minimized
to virtually PG-13 proportions, and there is even hardly any implied sex. The dialogue is
about as funny as eavesdropping in a high school cafeteria, except for the lack of verite,
which would give the cafeteria a definite edge. While the original had an
"asshole-guy-drinking-sperm-without-realizing-it" scene; the sequel has a
comparable, but much less shocking or funny,
"asshole-guy-getting-pissed-on-without-realizing-it" sequence. Jim sticking his
dick to his hand with crazy glue is no comparison to getting caught humping the pie. The
popular advertisement scene, where Jims dad catches him in bed with a girl is
possibly the best comedic achievement of the film, but it still isn't anywhere close to
being obscene, and that's partly what I want in a film like this. I mean, Nerds put
a whole sororitys worth of breasts on display and included an actual bush shot.
Wheres the guts in four, count em four nipples? This is not the
transgressive laugh-riot I was prepared for.
So if you dont watch this movie for the raunchiness, why see it? The moral
thrust? Perhaps. Although the climax of AP2 isnt nearly as emotionally
riveting as the football pep rally scene in ROTN, and Jim isnt as loveable as
Rudy from Meatballs, the movie does end with the guy doing the exact thing
hes supposed to do making an ass of himself to woo the "nerdy"
girl, who was always the right one for him. This is a typical moral thrust for a movie
like this, or any movie with any kind of romance in it these days, but the more shocking
aspect of AP2 is how far it stays away from drug use. Theres not so much as a
stoned out hippy or cracksmoking homeless guy in this film its all clean,
white, beautiful and mostly happy, young college students.
It might be the general lack of grittiness that makes American Pie 2 a bad
movie. Its hard to break the rules and be cool if you dont actually break the
rules. AP2 is naughty in the same way as the Abercrombie and Fitch catalog
controlled, styled, and highly fashionable. Bland. Or it might be the fact that all of the
details are imported from the first film. Of course people who loved, and were
talking about people who really loved the first movie, are going to dig AP2
its the same joke. The people who regarded the original as groundbreakingly
cool are the same people who dont really want to work hard to get it the same
people who scratch their heads at films like Memento. Most of the jokes in AP2
either fully rely on, or are made more complete by, knowledge of the first film. And
thats not because you understand the characters any better. Its because the
jokes are recycled. The lines are recycled. The whole thing just reeks of the legendary
"same ole, same ole".
And maybe thats the worst part of American Pie 2. In some way it is
accurate in representing the lives of many people who have been or are teenagers returning
home from college. The whole summer is spent in hollow repetition of high school habits
and timid experimentation with the "new thing" which eventually becomes
adulthood. Sex is a paramount concern, but is somehow harder to find than in high school
and youre not any better at it. Drugs are nowhere to be found, so you spend the days
hanging out with old friends who grew up just like you. One day blurs into the next, and
eventually one summer blurs into another, and in the end it all just seems kind of crappy.
At least these guys have a beach house.