American Pie (Unrated)
The original production title for this film was "Teenage sex comedy that can be made for under $10 million". That about sums it up. This film is sophomoric and juvenile but there are actually parts that I had to laugh in spite of myself. The film is about the last days of high school were four best friends make a pack to lose their virginity by prom night. The movie is in many places just plain trashy but not without humor. Not the type of humor that adults are used to, the kind that you and your friends used to laugh at in high school. After all, this movie is targeted for the teen audience. Among the various adventures that the four boys encounter is sex with pastry, the power of rumors involving sexual accomplishments and an internet broadcast of a bedroom striptease that goes horrible wrong. Still, there are rather tender moments especially when the virginal jock joins the choir to get close to a girl and show his sensitive side only to become what he was pretending to be, a nice, sensitive young man.
The cast is a bunch of twenty somethings playing teenagers. For the most part they pull it off because they do have talent and genuine comic promise.
Most of the cast are relatively unknown but there are a few exceptions that represent some creative casting. Best known is the man who plays the confused father of the pastry-loving boy. Eugene Levy brings to this role such a blundering quality that any father of a son can identify with his desire to help his son and understand the hormone-induced madness while attempting to maintain some dignity. Levy has been a great character actor for many years and the experience carries him through this film. One great moment is when he tries to teach his son about sex by bringing him a stack of dirty magazines. The uncomfortableness of the situation is actually funny. One young actress that is under used in this film but destined for greater things is Natasha Lyonne. Perhaps best known for her dark comedy, The Slums of Beverly Hills, she is the best friend of one girl in the film. More experienced than her friend in the matters of sex she provides the setup for some very funny moments. Movies of this genre have to have a teenage pull, hopefully from a popular teen TV show. For this film the draw is Alyson Hannigan best known as Willow on Buffy the Vampire slayer. Hannigan is the geeky girl from the band that begins almost every sentence with You know, in band camp we .. She winds up with some of the best lines, lines that come out of left field and are funny because of the whole movie setting them up.
The director is also a new comer. Paul Weitz directs this film with an almost off the cuff attitude. He knows he is not in the running for any awards short of some odd MTV awards so he seems like he just decided to have fun. The pace is maintained not by dialogue or plot so he uses a musical score that makes most of the film seems like a long, raunchy music video.
The disc is up to DVD standards, that is the video and audio are well transferred. The only problem was the cross over to the second layer where there was a discernable pause. The commentaries from the director and his brother (who produced) and several of the cast members, seems more like people talking through a movie than really adding to its enjoyment. The disc is in two forms, each released separately, and the R rated theatrical release and the unrated version. The unrated has a few minutes of added footage but is mostly the same as the rated release. The film is good for a laugh but not much more than that.