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"American Pie"

Directed by Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz.
Written by Adam Herz.
Starring Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott and Eugene Levy.
Release Year:  1999 
Review Date:  7/16/99


Sorry about the lag time here, but I went to Buffalo for a couple of days to hang out with the folks.  Also, as a brief FYI, I have actually found someone willing to employ my diverse research skills--Freddie Mac, a firm based in McLean, VA that does almost the exact same thing as Fannie Mae, one of the other big Fortune 50s in the area.  So, I'm excited to be going back to work.

Anyway, I've been excited about this flick for a couple of months, and on most fronts, "American Pie" delivers the goods.  The story concerns four friends during their last month of high school who make a pact to get laid by the end of the school year by whatever means necessary.  You know, that whole sexual coming-of-age idea.  Most of the movie takes place in the days leading up to senior prom as the guys find interesting ways to score themselves dates (and, ultimately, sex) for the last dance.

I loved all four of the lead characters, quite possibly because of the fact that a couple of them reminded me of guys I knew during my high school years.  All are very believable, but it is clear that Jim (Jason Biggs) is given the most to do, from the opening tube sock scene to stripteases to learning about apple pie.  Especially good is the Stifler character, mostly because every high school in America has a jock as "cool" and as tasteless as him.  When Oz breaks into sensitivity mode, Stifler's reactions are hilarious.

“Hummer of Doom” Prenoveau mentioned to me that the style of humor swayed towards the "There's Something About Mary" raunch level, and I can't argue with that one.  There are a couple of scenes that are just wrong, but they are few and far between and not nearly as bad as the now-infamous "hair gel" scene from "TSAM" last year.  Of course, you may change your mind after watching one of the characters stroking some pie.  But, while a lot of these jokes are aimed at the high school set, the reminiscing that people our age ("our" being 22 and up) can do is pretty high and that's what did it for me...from the MILF jokes early on to the locker room banter to not wanting to use the high school bathrooms to someone yelling during the prom band's performance "You suck!", there's plenty to look back on, especially if you're a guy.

Which brings up an important point:  will girls like this movie?  Like "Swingers", yes, they will, but they won't love it like guys will.  What keeps this movie from the coveted Opening Weekend status is inserting things like Oz's romance with a girl in the school choir, which feels weird because this guy is the best player on the lacrosse team and during the team's final game, he just feels the need to go sing a duet with this girl, because suddenly, it is what matters most to him!!  Sap factor:  DEFCON 2!!  Regardless, this movie is taken mostly from the male perspective, so males will get the most from it.

Overall, a solid performance that so far is the year's funniest movie for me.  Perfect running time, hot women...and of course, "Say my name, bitch!!"

Rating:  $7.50 Show


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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, 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/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09