American Pie

Rated: R
Runtime: 1 Hour and 35 Minutes

Reviewer: Erik
Grade: B-

When the plot to "American Pie" became apparent, I wanted to throw my hands up in the air. It's about four high school seniors who make a pact to lose their virginity by the time they leave for college. I expected a dumb "Porky's" style of movie, and admittedly, a lot of the humor is on par.

But something unexpected happened along the way. The characters grow up, and by the end of the movie, the laughs are fewer but the story better. Thank God. This type of movie has been done a hundred times before, and they're usually quite bad.

The four teenagers are: Jim (Jason Biggs), who's got a thing for a foreign exchange student, and gets caught doing undescribable things in his bedroom and the kitchen; Oz (Chris Klein), your stereotypical jock with little upstairs, but who's willing to learn; Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), who's dating the cute Vicky (Tara Reid) and wants to finally round third base and head for home; And Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), the snobbish student who has a smarter approach to the pact.

Yes, there are laughs. Sometimes it's low-class toilet humor that works, and other times it's just fun dialogue and situations. There are two characters who get laughs just by showing up on the screen. The first is Jim's dad (Eugene Levy), who tries his best, but fails, to deal with his son's raging hormones. The other is Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), the geeky band flute player who talks like a six-year-old trying to tell a story.

There are two scenes in particular that are unbelievably good. The first is the opening sequence where Jim's parents walk in on him at a bad time. The second is when Jim's attempt to score gets broadcasted to the entire school, and he can't complete the task...twice.
On the flipside, some of the jokes just don't work, and I expected more laughs. The scene with the "spiked" beer just wasn't funny. A handful of the one-liner quips just evaporate into thin air. The laxative joke has been done before, and better.

Despite the wackiness, the first thing to come to mind when I recall this movie is the maturity of the characters at the end. They'll all learn that it's not about scoring, and one will genuinely fall in love (in a subplot that's just warm and cute). "American Pie" could have wandered into dopey "Porky's" territory, but takes enough turns toward the mature to avoid a real mess.