American Pie

Video Reviews


D: Paul Weitz (1999); with Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Tara Reid, Alyson Hannigan, Mena Suvari, Natasha Lyonne. One time, at band camp ... If nothing else, American Pie should be admired for the progression of this joke, delivered by retainer-wearing dork-o Michelle. Played by cuddly little redhead Alyson Hannigan (Willow on WB's Buffy, the Vampire Slayer), the character seems to be such a high school cliché -- that is, until she shatters all the stereotypes in a scene too hilarious to spoil. First-time director Weitz and screenwriter Adam Herz take obvious glee in their procession of gross-out gags, mostly involving Jason Biggs' Jim -- he gets caught masturbating to porn, boinking an apple pie, and stripping for a beautiful, horny foreign exchange student -- and to an extent, all the outrageousness smacks of some sick pissing match with There's Something About Mary, which was released to smashing success the year before. But even as these hijinks wear thin, there is much sloppy fun to be had in the story of four high school boys who make a pact to lose their virginity by prom night. The dessert-boffing humor aside, some of the best parts of the film are simply watching these four fumble their way through sexual encounters. Like when Chris Klein cozies up to a college girl, his eyes all misty-eyed and narrowed, and whispers, "Suck me, beautiful." It hurts me; it really does. Personally, I don't remember high school boys being this sweet and ridiculous and neurotic, but these four certainly are. So if you're beginning to get curious -- What's all the fuss about? Should you do it or not do it? Will it hurt? What will people think of you at the video store? -- I say get it over with: Watch American Pie.

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