American Pie 2 [Retro Review]

“Let’s hear it for Petey! Yay!”

The Scoop: 2001 R, directed by James B Rogers and starring Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Alyson Hannigan and Sean William Scott

Tagline: This Summer It’s All About Sticking Together.

Summary Capsule: The gang of hornballs return from college more the funny, but none the wiser

Justin’s Rating: God bless the sequels

Justin’s Review: While I’ve done an article debating the merits of sequels, there are just some movies that you’d give your right teeth to see some more of. Wait, that might be “eye teeth”. But do eyes truly have teeth? Ever since I’ve written my original and somewhat ambiguous American Pie review, AP grew on me. Sure, it had tons of energy, music, quotes, and outrageous comedy scenes… but I think it’s the cast of interesting and vibrant characters that won me over. Sure, they might be utterly obsessed about sex and sex and sex, but they are also characters growing and developing a slight shade of maturity between performing intimate acts of carnality with pastries (okay, so Stifler never matures).

There’s Jim, the awkward one; Kevin, the “Nice Guy”; Oz, the jock-turned-relationshipper; Finch, the refined nerd; and Stifler, the hopeless sex-crazed jock. Who wouldn’t want to see where they went from the end of American Pie? From high school to college, American Pie 2 teaches us that the more things change… the more Jim gets in trouble.

Caught in an intimate situation at college by his father (the ever-dependable Eugene Levey), Jim returns to his small Michigan hometown to see what can be salvaged from the summer. What indeed. If the testosterone level from these boys could be channeled into a viable energy source, we could toss nuclear energy right out the window (of course, the fallout from the blast might be a problem for your next door neighbors, but I’m sure you can live with the guilt). Jim and Co. soon realize that their world is changing, and they really can’t go back to where they started. That said, they rent a summer beach house (no parents having any qualms about this, apparently) with Stifler, grab painting jobs, and chase around all of the women who apparently migrate from Detroit because THERE ARE NO ATTRACTIVE SINGLE WOMEN WITH BRAINS AROUND HERE. Ahem.

AP2 divides up into two types of scenes: relationship scenes and madcap humor scenes. With plenty of great quotes betwixt, of course. Prepare for a slightly higher level of gross-out memories, but they still stop way before, say, where the Wayans brothers would go. I think a lot of ladies will enjoy some of these scenes, because the humor draws off of the boys’ sexual stupidity (there’s one scene, I won’t spoil which, where the women in my audience were giggling hysterically, and all the guys were making retching noises — you can only guess what that’d be about).

But all of the slapstick humor isn’t just gross-out; a lot of these actors have a keen sense of physical comedy, geeky Jason Biggs in particular. His performance at a band camp concert is neither raunchy or outrageous… but it is incredibly funny. Biggs returns to the role that made him a star, and proves that he’s just been having a really stinky run of follow-up films. Let’s hope this breaks the bad luck chain.

With the ensemble cast growing — even more from the first film — my one complaint lies in the fact that some characters are shoved aside for a large part of the flick, with only minimal subplots. Oz, separated from his girlfriend (Mena Suvari, looking more and more like a goldfish with those bulging eyes), had about five lines in this flick. And his bleeting repetition of how a “perfect” relationship should be gets annoying (even if he has his head on better than the rest of the guys). Kevin and his ex-girlfriend explore some of that post-dating weirdness, but it’s kinda pointless and weak. Yes, because extreme awkwardness is ALWAYS funny, right? And what’s up with Tara Reid? She looks like a glossy Barbie doll now. Plus, Finch has gone from being pasty and white to pasty and chubby… it’s weird.

Fortunately, the ever-crass Stifler gets more screentime (it seems like Scott’s played a weaker version of the Stifler character in many of the other flicks he’s been in lately), and we even get a return of the Sherminator. Perhaps this all sounds like a high school reunion flick… hey, maybe it is. But they don’t go into weepy “remember the days, man?” speeches, and the fun-o-meter stays consistently high.

What might even make American Pie 2 better than the original in my eyes is the developing relationship between Jim and Michelle, the band camp dork. Alyson Hannigan is a cutie, no doubt, but she’s also really cool through her neurosis. She strikes up a strange dual life in Michelle: part the utter nerd, part the wise-in-the-ways-of-love sexpot. Who wouldn’t want to date her? I’d be there in a second. She gets tons more screen time, and I was just rooting for her and Jim through the entire flick. I really admire how they took a one-note character and gave her depth.

AP2 is going to get a few lumps from people that complain “it’s more of the same.” Well, of course it is. Can you image them doing anything vastly different with the characters? Watching a group of well-known friends enjoy a summer together, getting into all sorts of insane situations, and never really getting too gooshey… well, that’s a perfect sequel to me. I will heartily concede that AP2 suffers from extensive sequel joke rehash (an army of dead horses, all present for their beatings) and it still has no idea what it wants to be: a full-fledged sex comedy masquerading under the guise of maturing relationships, or a romance-comedy with plenty of sexual overtones. As with most sequels, we wish that they would’ve taken a few more chances, branched out a bit more, but we get what the public asks for.

Andie’s Rating: I give it a 9, but using the rule of three, that’s really a 27

Andie’s Review: Okay, so honestly there are a few things about AP2 that I think were inferior to American Pie, but overall I thought it was just as good and some parts far surpassed the original. It was the same wacky characters that we love from the first movie getting into brand new wacky situations while trying to get laid. What more could you ask for in a movie? But before I go singing its praises from the rooftops, I’m going to tell you what I didn’t like first.

Now, the most glaring disparity this movie had compared to the original was: Where were all the chicks? Other than Alyson Hannigan as Michelle, none of the other girls really got any good screen time. Natasha Lyonne was underused in the first one, but she was WAY underused in the second one. She is so funny! They could’ve had some great scenes just listening to her talk about college. I also would’ve really liked to see her hook up with Stifler. It almost happened at the party and take it from a girl who is a lot like Jessica, in the real world it would’ve happened.

Anyway, I’m also disappointed we didn’t get more of Tara Reid. Her and Kevin trying to be “just friends” was a great story line but could’ve been seen a little more. Hmmmm, maybe they didn’t want to put her onscreen much because she looks like an anorexic drug addict. That could be it. Did you notice how none of her t-shirts fit right because she now has no body to put them on and she had horrible heroin-withdrawl circles under her eyes? If I was Kevin, I would’ve been checking Vicky’s arms for track marks. And what about Mena Suvari? How convenient that they ship her off to Europe for the summer! She is a great character and they could’ve had more of her and Oz instead of sending her abroad. That sucked.

And finally, Shannon Elizabeth. Oh Shannon Shannon Shannon. First of all, I can’t believe Natasha Lyonne got so little screentime and Shannon Elizabeth got so much, but that just goes to show you that guys wrote this movie. Secondly, that girl’s accent makes me want to jam sharp objects into my ears. Thirdly, she gets it on with Sherman! EWWWWWWW!!!!! No self-respecting beautiful girl like that would get it on with him, which also goes to show you that guys wrote this movie.

Now that I’ve fully expressed my unrest with the girl storylines, I will tell you why I loved this movie. I’ve already seen it twice and quite possibly will go again before it leaves the theaters. It had me cracking up at every turn! My favorite part in the whole movie is when the three boys break into the “lesbian” house and run around like maniacs trying to get out before they’re discovered. I LOVE the music playing in the background and it’s too bad it’s not on the soundtrack, even if it is instrumental. It’s also completely great when the lesbians find the guys and decide to mess with them.

This is seriously a great scene and that is because it happens all the time. Guys (generally, not all guys) think lesbians are really neat and will do anything to watch two girls make out. It’s pathetic. However, Stifler is so great in this scene. I love how he says he’ll “take one for them team.” I was also happy to see his little brother back, that was great. It would’ve been nice if he’d at least gotten to makeout with someone at the party, though.

I was also completely elated to see how much screentime Alyson Hannigan got in this one. She is fantastic! Michelle is so sweet and funny and also crass and raunchy all at once. She’s great. She and Jim are perfect for each other and hats off to the writers because they didn’t have Jim ditch cool Michelle for annoying large-breasted Nadia. Another thing I say hats off to the writers about was the “Rule of 3” scenes. I don’t know where they came up with this, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it is totally true. I have unconsciously always followed this rule because I don’t want to seem easy and most guys I’ve talked to usually multiply their number by three. The writers really hit that little tidbit of information on the head, that was great.

And finally, the super glue scene. This was my favorite part of the movie to watch/hear other people’s reactions to because all the girls in the audience are cracking up and all the guys in the audience are wincing and sucking air in through their teeth. I think Jason Biggs did a marvelous job, especially for such an embarrassing situation, and the whole thing was topped off with Alien Ant Farm’s remake of “Smooth Criminal.” That was like the cherry on the already yummy ice cream sundae. What a perfect scene, I’m laughing just thinking about it.

So anyway, if you’re one of like 10 people who hasn’t seen this flick yet, you should definitely check it out. I think it was a worthy sequel to the first American Pie and was pleasantly surprised at how much it made me laugh. I have to say, if they made a third one, I’d be there right away to see it and I kind of hope they do, if they can get the same characters back.

"No emasculation here, please!"

Intermission!

  • The infamous “pie” returns in the first scene… to a cruel fate
  • The monkey is back! The monkey is back!
  • Everyone, and I mean *everyone*, who was in American Pie is back here. Look for the MILF guys, Stifler’s Mom, Kevin’s older brother, and did I mention the MONKEY?
  • One of the first ideas for an American Pie 2 plot was to have the guys travel to Europe in search of Nadia.
  • In the scene when Alyson Hannigan (Michelle) is “breaking up” with Jim, her hair is styled differently than normal. This is because she was shooting an episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and she ran over to the set during a break.

Groovy Quotes

Kevin: How’s your tweakstick and giggleberries?

Michelle: Yup, that’s my bitch!

Guy in crowd: Let’s hear it for Petey! Yay!

Stifler: Oh, I can taste the bubbles!

Jim’s Dad: Oh, don’t forget your penis cream.
Jim: Thanks.

Jim’s Dad: You two made quite the handsome couple on the internet… Oh, I didn’t see it. It was brought up at a PTA meeting.

[Jim and Stifler share a quick peck]
Danielle: That’s how you kiss your mom.
Stifler: [to Finch] Don’t say anything!

Kid: Hey, you’re just a retard!
Jim: I’m not retarded, I’m a very special boy.

Guy 1: I have one word for that party — bitchin!
Guy 2: Out of control!
Guy 1: Am I gonna have a hangover? Cause I want one.

Stifler: How ’bout you Jessica, how many chicks did you sleep with this year?
Jessica: Wouldn’t you like to know.
Stifler: Yeah, I would!

Stifler: Jim. Can’t you keep your shirt on? You’re scaring the chicks away.

Nadia: You… you want the band geek?
Jim: Nadia, I *am* a band geek. I just never joined the band.

Jim: Nadia will be expecting filet mignon, okay, and all I’m going to be able to give her is rump roast.
Oz: What are you so worried about? You’ve had experience since Nadia.
Jim: Ah, yes. You would be referring to the flute fetish band geek, who made me her bitch, and ditched me after prom.

Jessica: If a guy tells you how many girls he’s hooked up with, it’s not even close to that. You take that number and divide it by three, then you get the real total. OK, so if Kevin is saying it’s been three girls it’s more like one or none.
Vicky: None?
Jessica: The rule of three. It’s an exact science. Consistent as gravity.

Michelle: Now don’t freak out. I’m gonna do something to push your threshold.

Stifler: Oh God, I kissed Jim.

If you liked this movie, try these:

  • American Pie
  • American Wedding
  • Meatballs
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2 Comments

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

  2. Pingback: Justin does American Reunion | Mutant Reviewers

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