Saturday, April 16, 2011

I Want to Defect: "American Pie" (1999)



"American Pie" breaks all the rules, an explicit sex comedy that was a huge hit despite a then no-name cast and freshman director and writer. What else? This has no laughs, at all.

Four completely unbelievable high school boys decide to help each other lose their virginity before prom...no, not THAT way. Thomas Ian Nicholas is dating Tara Reid, but cannot bring himself to say "I love you." Eddie Kay Thomas takes a cerebral approach to gettin' some, hoping a rumor he starts himself will get him a mate. Chris Klein joins the jazz choir and meets Mena Suvari, but finds himself falling in love with her instead. The main character, Jason Biggs, is so desperate to have sex he pleasures himself with the title pastry and inadvertently posts his first humiliating sexual experience (with a foreign exchange student) on the internet. None of the high school students seem to have parents, except one guy's mom who ends up in bed with Thomas. Biggs' has the walking embarrassment Eugene Levy as his dad. Levy was singled out favorably for a performance that is anything but funny. As a matter of fact, none of this is funny.

I smiled at the beginning because Biggs was trying to see some scrambled porn while "wearing" a tube sock when his parents walk in. Other than that, nothing. Klein and Suvari have nice chemistry, and almost make this film half way watchable. While their romance borders on cute and sweet, it is still simplistic and stunted. I saw more loving emotions on "Family Matters" after Urkel hit puberty.

I do not believe dumbing down my comedic tastes would have made this any better. I just do not think a guy drinking a beer with sperm in it is funny. I just do not think a guy running into a girls' restroom in an emergency because he was slipped a laxative is funny. I just do not think a nine year old kid jumping on a bed and saying the "F" word over and over again is funny. I just do not think this film is funny.

Adam Herz's script is just "Porky's" turned up to its most disgusting degree. The characters' actions make little sense, and are put on screen to get the cheapest of laughs. Shannon Elizabeth's masturbation scene is a low point in this young woman's career...but I have not seen the sequel, either. Paul Weitz directs this as if his master plan was to drain all the energy out of every scene he pointed his camera at. On the other side of the camera, Tara Reid is five years older than Thomas Ian Nicholas, and looks it. The rest of the male cast is so interchangeable, I had to study the end credits to get character names right. After three years of hype, "American Pie" does not live up to even the lowest expectation I held for this- is it too much to ask for at least ONE laugh from a comedy?

Go check your local listings, "Porky's" must be on the Fox Movie Channel again this month. (*) out of five stars. Watch this movie!: American Pie