American Pie [Retro Review]

“One time, at band camp…”

The Scoop: 1999 R, directed by Paul & Chris Weitz and starring Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Alyson Hannigan and Sean William Scott

Tagline: There’s something about your first piece.

Summary Capsule: Four virgins vow to lose theirs before graduation

Andie’s Rating: It’s coming, it’s coming……

Andie’s Review: I have to tell you, I thought this movie was one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. It was crass and gross, but then again, so are high school and college. (A few of my guy friends are fond of saying, “I’d like a pizza… a pizza ass!” )

Anyway, I liked it so much I went and saw it twice in one day in the theaters. This movie just completely spoke to me, probably because I know a lot of people that are just like the characters. The basic idea is that four guys vow to lose their virginity by prom night. The ensuing hijinks are fantastic. I found myself actually cheering these poor schmucks on as they did everything they could to con girls to sleep with them (which, as a girl, is a little embarrassing). Jim (Jason Biggs) and Oz (Chris Klein) were particularly endearing in their quest to get a piece. I also have to give kudos to the females of the movie, especially Jessica (Natasha Lyonne) as the sex-wise friend to the naivé Vicky (Tara Reid) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) as the flute-toting band dork. Hands down, she has the two best lines in the whole movie.

Anyone who was offended by this movie needs to be slapped and told to lighten up. It’s not out to be poignant or touching or moral. It’s supposed to be funny! And that’s exactly what it is.

Justin’s Rating: Equipped with Special K’s love kit

Justin’s Review: Despite how raunchy modern comedies want you to think they are, they’re really pretty tame compared to teen sex romps of the late 70’s and 80’s. American Pie is a film that centers around the age-old concept of high school kids with little else but coitus on the mind. After seeing the famous pie commercial (American Pie‘s answer to There’s Something About Mary‘s “hair gel”), I expected at least a Penthouse Letters/Hustler type of film; but don’t be fooled by advertising — this is really no more offensive or explicit than Playboy.

Four high school guys make a vow to release themselves from the bondage of virginity by their high school prom. Not highly original, but it does allow for a few good scenes. The best are when Jim (Jason Biggs) keeps getting caught by his father while… well, you know. At one point his dad gives him the “talk” that had to be the most hilariously embarrassing movie scene I’ve ever experienced. Some of the other plot threads felt predictable and lacking. For kids who are supposedly sex-crazy, they don’t seem utterly enthusiastic about it for most of the film.

Maybe that’s the point. It’s really ironic how the kids in this flick seem to be buying into that Great Myth (that is, you can’t be a man or respected until you’ve had intercourse), yet even before they get around to doing it, they discover that the world of sex isn’t as carefree or rewarding just for the sake of it. Fact One: teens crave sex. Fact Two: most of the time, the sex they get doesn’t meet their expectations or help their relationships. Hm. Wonder why. If any kid watches American Pie and comes away with the thought, “Man, I gotta get some” instead of “Maybe there’s a downside to blindly wanting sex”, then they didn’t see the movie I did.

[spoiler in this paragraph] What really burned me (but in a good, non-contagious way) was the resolution of the Kevin-Vicky relationship. Throughout the movie, Kevin’s been the basic horndog, figuring he’s deserved sex out of a relationship that he’s put time into. Vicky is seen as a girl wanting what we all ultimately desire — love. When they finally have sex, the audience figures everyone got what they want (Kevin got his precious orgasm, and Vicky got him to say “I love you”). Yet the next morning, it’s all backwards. I thought Vicky was incredibly cruel to break off their relationship particularly after coercing an “I love you” out of Kevin, because she hadn’t matured at all here… she just realized that she sold herself out to the highest bidder that has no possible future with her. In a shocking twist, Kevin comes to the conclusion too late that he does, in fact, love her… and can no longer have her as an end result to that night. Sex might have helped them come to some relationship conclusions, but it didn’t help them in the least. Powerful stuff, here.

Because sex is just crazy-insane anyway, I’m glad for a movie that doesn’t declare it taboo and freely pokes fun at all sides of it. While at times crude and base, American Pie shows a deeper understanding as to what’s really going on in a teen’s sexual world, and there’s real truth to be found in that. Aside from the serious or naked stuff, AP has a high laugh quotient, an even higher quote scale, and gives us some of the geekiest leading men of our time. Solid.

Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson.

Intermission!

  • This movie was one of the handful of summer 1999 films that came under fire by the MPAA. It was given a NC-17 rating four times until slight editing got it an R. The other films that fought a NC-17 “Death For Box Office” rating this summer included South Park and Eyes Wide Shut.
  • When submitting his script to studios, screenwriter Adam Herz titled it, “Untitled Teenage Sex Comedy That Can Be Made For Under $10 Million That Most Readers Will Probably Hate But I Think You Will Love.” It was later changed to “East Great Falls High,” then “Great Falls,” and finally, “American Pie.”

Groovy Quotes

Jim: You realize we’re all going to go to college as virgins. They probably have special dorms for people like us.

Jessica: You’ve never double-clicked your mouse?

Vicky: I want it to be the right time, the right place…..
Jessica: It’s not a space shuttle launch, it’s SEX.

Jim: Guys, uh, what exactly does third base feel like?
Kevin: You want to take this one?
Oz: Like warm apple pie.
Jim: Yeah?
Oz: Yeah.
Jim: Apple pie, huh?
Oz: Uh huh.
Jim: McDonald’s or homemade?

Finch: God bless the Internet.

Jim: She’s gone! Oh my God, she used me. I was used. I was used! Cool!

Kevin: Separately we are flawed and vunerable, but together we are the masters of our sexual destiny.
Jim: [imitating dubbed martial-arts dialogue] Their tiger-style kung fu is strong, but our dragon-style kung fu will defeat it!
Kevin: Guys…
Oz: The Shaolin masters of East and West must unite! Fight! And find out who is number one!
Kevin: GUYS! I’m serious!

Michelle: What’s my name? SAY MY NAME, BITCH!
Jim: Michelle! Michelle!

Oz: Friends call me Nova as in “Casanova”.

Sherman: I’m a sophisticated sex robot sent back through time, to change the future for one lucky lady.

Jim’s Dad: It’s like playing a tennis ball against a brick wall, which can be fun, it can be fun. But it’s not a game.
Jim: Right.
Jim’s Dad: It’s not a game.
Jim: No.
Jim’s Dad: What you want is a partner to return the ball.

Finch: Did not just take out that chair.
Kevin: Yup, he took out the chair.

Michelle: One time, at band camp…

If you liked this movie, try these:

  • American Pie 2
  • American Wedding
  • There’s Something About Mary
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3 Comments

  1. Pingback: American Wedding [Retro Review] « Mutant Reviewers From Hell

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