American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile
In just about every film genres there have been notable franchises. You know, a series of films based on a character. For the Sci-Fi fans there are the Star Trek films; for mystery lovers they have the ‘Thin Man’ and for action you can watch any one of the many Tarzan flicks. It looks like the lesser regarded genre of the teen sex romp movie we have the American Pie series. We are now up to the fifth installment although the only actor reprising his only at this point is Eugene Levy as Mr. Levenstein. As with an film franchise each installment has to follow the formula established by the previous flicks. In the case of the American Pie series let’s face it, the bar is not set all that high. Basically all that is required is a lot of alcoholic beverages, some scantly clad young co-eds and numerous jokes centered on any number of bodily fluids and gasses. At this point the studio doesn’t even worry about how the movie will do in theatrical release; they just go straight to DVD video. The thing is these facts do not preclude the entertainment value of the flick. This film delivers what it promises; rowdy, gross and puerile humor. The film does not pretend to be anything else so all else said it is honest in the expectations the audience may have.
The men of the Stifler have a reputation to uphold. They are well known for their way with the ladies and their ability to insult any lesser man in sight. They are typically self assured to the point of being as cocky as they are rambunctious. With such a tradition set by Steve and Matt Stifler younger brother Erik (John White) has a lot to live up to. Fortunately for him he doesn’t want to follow in his older brother’s footsteps. As a senior in high school Erik is under a lot of pressure both from his peers and his (unseen in this film) brothers to lose his virginity. Erik is in a long standing, committed relationship with his girlfriend Tracy (Jessy Schram). On one level he wants to submit to his biological imperative and more to the next level of their relationship but Tracy is not yet ready to move past some simulated sexual contact. Wanting to keep Erik but afraid that his urges will overcome him Tracy finally agrees to give Erik a ‘free pass’ weekend where he can lose his virginity without any repercussions. In a case of cinema coincidence the perfect weekend for this deal is upon Erik. Acting on the advice from Mr. Levenstein (Eugene Levy), Erik and his friends plan to attend a legendary local event at a near by university, the infamous Naked Mile. Much to the chagrin of the school administration once a year the students shed their clothes for a run around the campus followed by a hedonistic night of drinking and cavorting. Hopefully this will provide just the right opportunity and environment for Erik to hook up with a willing and libidinous sorority girl who can help solve his hormonal dilemma. Erik meets up with Ms Right Now in the form of Brandi (Candace Kroslak). She is intrigued by the concept of his virginity and is excited by the thought of helping him lose it. It may seem that Tracy is just too good a girlfriend to believe. She is willing for her boyfriend to have sex with another girl while she sits and waits for him to come back home. There is little surprise when Tracy begins to have some serious misgivings about her decision and sets out to alter the arrangement.
Even though many people may deride this franchise the fact remains that enough people buy enough discs to keep the series going. There are always going to be enough teenagers out there as fans of this genre to keep it alive. While this installment does not measure up to the gold standard of the raunchy teen flick, ‘Animal House’, it does have its moments. For those of us with a few more decades behind us this film does constitute the guilty pleasure flick. There is a little remnant of that out of control teen in all of us and this movie taps into that. While this installment of the series does not live up to the original with regard to plot it does far exceed it in the all important gross factor. When I mentioned that Eugene Levy is the only remaining original cast member I was not entirely accurate. Human seamen has been featured in every flick with increasingly disgustingly use. What started as an additive to a beer has now become something that is applied to an unsuspecting grandmother. I shutter to think how this fluid will be employed in the inevitable sixth flick of the series. There is also enough nudity to warrant this as a ‘Girls Gone Wild’ video. The unrated version of the film just takes some scenes that would have given the MPAA reviewers apoplexy and reedited them back in the mix.
While casting is not particularly vital to a film like this John White is well cast. He manages to sell the role of a conflicted young virginal male torn between loving his girlfriend and needing to satisfy his more id oriented urges. He has the boy next door looks that helps the audience accept his quandary. Counterpoint to White’s character Jessy Schram performs well as the understanding, to a point, girlfriend. She is pretty but doesn’t come across in any way as slutty; important to set up the triangle with the less inhibited Brandi as played by Candace Kroslak. The two actresses set up a battle of the blondes over the virginity of the lamented Erik.
Universal Home Entertainment releases this direct to video with basically the same mastering specification as the previous films. The anamorphic 1.85:1 video is crisp ad clear with a very well done color balance. The Dolby 5.1 audio has a reasonable channel separation with realistic ambience provided by the rear speakers. There is an audio commentary track provided by director Joe Nussbaum, writer Erik Lindsay and cast members John White, Ross Thomas, Jake Siegel and Steve Talley. It is basically a round robin discussion where the participants reminisce about the filming. There are four featurettes as the main extras. The first is ‘Life on Naked Mile’ a behind the scenes look at production. Next up is ‘Little People, Big Stunts’ where little person Rock goes over some of his action work. Rounding things out are ‘The Bare Essentials’ which is pretty much what you think and the dubious ‘Yoga Guide for Getting Young Girls’. This is the kind of film that is best enjoyed over a pizza and a number of beers with your friends. You may be asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement so the rest of the neighborhood never learns you enjoyed this flick.