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"American Pie 2"

Directed by James B. Rogers.
Written by Adam Herz.
Starring Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, and Eugene Levy.
Release Year:  2001 
Review Date:  8/10/01

Folks--

God bless Seann William Scott, even if he does spell his first name with two n's.

You see, you have to really appreciate a man that knows the age-old adage, “Do one thing, and do it well.”  In the five movies that he has appeared in since 1999's “American Pie”, he has played roughly the same character in each and every single film.  And, he is unsurpassed right now in playing the oversexed teen jock that made him famous:  Steve Stifler.

And, “American Pie 2”—the sequel that reunites Stifler with his high school buddies at a beach house as they celebrate life following their first year away at college—is ONLY successful when Scott is on screen.  You may not like the Stifmeister, but one thing is clear:  he is funny as hell.  Whether he is getting laid, pissed on, objectifying women, kissing other men, or joining in three-way phone sex, Scott has perfected the art of non-acting to the next level.  He is hilarious in this film, and is truly the best reason to watch this sequel.

How could this be?  Well, the biggest reason is because the four main characters are really, surprisingly boring:  Oz (Chris Klein), Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) and the pie-man himself, Jim (Jason Biggs).  Oz is still dating Heather (Mena Suvari), so he spends most of the movie talking on the phone with her, since Heather is studying abroad for the summer.  Finch still lusts after Stifler's mom (Jennifer Coolidge), and spends the whole movie practicing tantric orgasms in lieu of her presence.  Kevin still wants to get back together with Vicky (Tara Reid) and Jim...well, Jim needs to figure out how he will deliver on the biggest score of his young life with foreign exchange student Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth), so he leans on cherry buster band friend Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) to tell him how to improve his sex skills.

So, because nothing has changed for these guys, we count on Stifler to deliver the comedic goods, and he does about 95% of the time.  Unfortunately, there are so many people in this movie that we only get to see him in short bursts and when he isn't around, the movie loses energy...although, the couple sitting behind me and my friend Ross sure didn't lose energy during this film, since they had time to fool around in a crowded Friday audience.  There are literally fifteen characters in “American Pie 2” that get at least three scenes.  In fact, if you were thinking that this sequel would feature *more* of Elizabeth as the too-hot-to-believe Nadia, you are wrong:  She has about the same number of scenes she had in the last film.  Suvari has moved on to more serious work (and, after “American Beauty”, there is no turning back for her), so she seems useless here.  Hell, even Klein has starred in a couple of films since the first pie run, and he seems bored to be around the set of this flick as well.

There are a few funny scenes in-between Stifler shots, and Biggs once again pulls off an incredible performance getting into hijink after hijink as the geeky Jim.  But, the story only seems to provide a different location for the guys to get laid again this summer, and it feels even more disjointed because it was so long...120 minutes is too long for a teen sex comedy, and it shows in the film's final quarter as you find yourself waiting for the big beach house party to commence.

If this movie makes money—and unless all of America's theaters shut down this weekend, that seems an inevitability—you can expect to see these characters again.  Hopefully, the producers of the third film will do one of two things:  a) call it “American Pie 3:  The Stifmeister” and lose all of the series' other characters except for Biggs' Jim, or b) write a story that makes our four heroes get into something more interesting than seeing if Finch will bed Stifler's mom for a third time.  Otherwise, this thing will REALLY run out of gas.

Rating:  Matinee

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09