American Pie Reviewby "David Wilcock" (david DOT wilcock AT btinternet DOT com)
October 3rd, 1999
Starring Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas and Seann William Scott.
Directed By Paul Weitz
Running Time: 1 hour 35 minutes.
Following in the grand tradition of comedy classics such as Porkys and Revenge of the Nerds, American Pie arrives in cinemas to relieve the heyday of the smutty college sex comedy. Even though narrowly avoiding a NC-17 rating with a few cuts, American Pie is still not really raunchy enough to make it really funny. The story centres around four boys, all virgins, who make a pact to get laid by prom night. It's proves to be quite a challenge though, and breasts, laxative and erotic dancing, plus the inevitable apple pie, all make an appearance.
American Pie has it's fair share of gross out gags: early on there's a scene involving a glass of beer that may have a few gagging. But in-between these gross out highlights, the film gets very shaky trying to develop some kind of plot. The script, by Adam Herz, just isn't strong enough to make these scenes. Boredom sets in, then, while the audience has to sit through badly written mushy romantic scenes while waiting for the next set of tits to appear. Still, the characters are a likeable bunch, if hideously stereotypical, and there's an hilarious performance by Alyson Hannigan as a band member with a more sinister agenda. The four leading lads aren't bad, although one of them is stuck with a girlfriend meaning he can't be as outrageous as the others. The girls are O.K, although the mechanics of the script push them to the sidelines and don't make them as exciting or funny as they should be. One highlight of the cast, however, is 80's comedy God Eugene Levy turning in a funny performance as Jim's dad. He provides some of the biggest laughs in the film.
American Pie is also startlingly predictable. Many of the jokes can be anticipated well before they lumber on the screen. There are also some jokes that fall flat, and the last twenty minutes occasionally turn very flat. Although the belly laughs really are belly laughs, the film really needs more work as a whole, to make the running time go by a bit quicker.
As per standard in college sex flicks, the soundtrack isn't bad, and there's a good selection of music. The direction is pretty much straightforward, and doesn't detract from the film. It looks as though censorship has affected the film, because some of the scenes look a little jumpy, making the cuts obvious.
American Pie is a odd affair to watch. I knew the gag was funny, but it just wasn't funny enough. This combined with the fact that the jokes are entirely predictable make American Pie somewhat of a disappointment. But the cast and the big set pieces are really rather good, dragging it out of mediocre territory. American Pie is worth a look.
RATING=*** OUT OF *****
A David Wilcock Review ©1999
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