American Pie Reviewby "Mac VerStandig" (webmaster AT moviereviews DOT org)
July 1st, 1999
Note: For personal reasons, I will be on hiatus from June 30, 1999 until August 25, 1999. No reviews will be published during that time. -Mac
3 stars (Out of 4)
Reviewed by Mac VerStandig
June 29, 1999
USA Release Date - July 9, 1999
American Pie is a guilty pleasure at its best, and an outrage at its worst. The film is indisputably funny; due to a script filled with hilarious and memorable quotes, and the forthright use of sexual content. However, the same sexual aspects push the movie's R rating closer to "adults only" than the target teenage audience, and the often predictable nature of the work plays as a spoiler as well.
Jim (Jason Biggs), Oz (Chris Klein), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) have three weeks left in their high school careers and all face a probable realization of their worst nightmare: graduating a virgin. The last straw for them comes when their friend Sherman, long considered a semi-geek, announces his introduction into manhood. Realizing that prom will be their last chance in high school to achieve their goal, the four friends make a pact to help each other and get the job done, no matter what the cost.
Candidates for the group's goal include a choir girl named Heather (Mena Suvari); Kevin's long time girlfriend, Vicky (Tara Reid); Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth's), a foreign exchange student; and some assorted other females. The guys also have friend Jessica (Natasha Lyonne, who is fabulous) to help out and give advice when things get way too bazaar.
The funniest part of the production is a sub plot focusing on Jim in particular, his relationship with his Dad, and a certain act of disparity he commits involving an apple pie. But it is Jim giving a live broadcast over the internet that wins the funniest scene contest.
The MPAA issued American Pie an R rating. However, the film is more deserving of an NC-17 rating that the user friendly R mark. Some of the more offensive scenes include masturbation with a sock, a condom, and the aforementioned baked goods. The movie also highlights two premature ejaculations, some dirty magazines, oral sex, regular sex, nudity, mention of masturbation with a musical instrument, the consumption of male bodily fluid, and an entire plot focussing on sex. If this film doesn't merit an NC-17 mark, then the MPAA needs to start asking itself what does.
One thing American Pie is not lacking is memorable quotes and moments. As the four friends agree to make a pact to lose their virginity, the audience is treated to the most uproariously funny speech since John Belushi addressed the Delta fraternity in another Universal film, National Lampoon's Animal House. This memorable speech ends, of course, with "We will get laid!" And Natasha Lyonne has wonderful advice for her friend who wants to experience her first time in the perfect setting-"it's not a space-shuttle launch. It's sex!" And some of the greatest dating advice ever "Just ask 'em questions and listen to what they have to say and (explicative)."
Unfortunately, American Pie does have some predictable aspects. The production also has the dubious accomplishment of being a high school comedy with a plot that leads to the prom, something that has become nearly synonymous with 1999. Perhaps the most predictable "surprise" of the movie is the revelation of a certain character's prevarication that became central to the plot. But to the credit of the film, the four central character's fate is unknown until the film ends.
American Pie opens with a scrambled video. It is obvious that the video is pornographic and a teenager is getting his "jollies" from it. Ironically there may be no better metaphor for the film itself. It is an entertaining work that seems to have gotten scrambled somewhere in the process, but teenagers will still enjoy every last moment, just as most older audiences will as well.
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