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American Pie (A Movie Review)

Updated: Apr 11, 2020

American Pie

American Pie


Starring Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Seann William Scott, Alyson Hannigan, Tara Reid, Mena Suvari, Natasha Lyonne, Shannon Elizabeth, Eugene Levy, Jennifer Coolidge and Molly Cheek. 

Screenplay by Paul Weitz and Chris Weitz.

Directed by Paul Weitz and Chris Weitz.

Distributed by Universal Pictures.  Rated R.  96 minutes.

The teen sex comedy is a genre that has always gotten a bad rap, and for the most part it is deserved. Let’s face it, no one went to Porky’s for character development. But even in the early eighties – the boom period for this genre – an occasional cinematic jewel slipped through the dreck.   Like Risky Business, The Sure Thing, or Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Well, in the new class of teen sex comedies (She’s All That, Mallrats, Can’t Hardly Wait)American Pie is most likely to succeed.

The film takes a pretty standard plotline – four geeks decide to make a pact to lose their virginity on prom night. Then the film goes and does something downright subversive… It make the girls three-dimensional characters and in charge of their own sexuality, not just blow-up dolls for the heroes. The boys have some emotional heft, too. As with most teenage boys, their hormones rule them, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have anything else going in their lives. Their friendship seems real and unforced and they really seem to care about the women they are pursuing.

Their school and home lives feel right, too. SCTV’s Eugene Levy does a very funny turn as a dad trying to be hip to his son’s urges. Even though American Pie does occasionally veer too far into post-Something About Mary grossness (particularly in scenes involving a pie and a tainted cup of beer) for the most part, it is a thoughtful meditation on being a teen and unlocking the mysteries of sex. (7/99)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright © 1999 All rights reserved.  Revised: July 9, 1999.

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