American Pie 2

Rated: R
Runtime: 1 Hour and 44 Minutes

Reviewer: Dale
Grade: B+

It isn't surprising that I approached this film with a certain amount of trepidation. The first one, after all, was a movie that totally shocked me by being far funnier than a film like that has a right to be. Not only that, but it was actually well-written and portrayed its teenage characters as something a bit more substantial than the usual high school caricatures. So I figured that they would make up for that by totally blowing it in "American Pie 2".

Thankfully, however, I was wrong.

"American Pie 2" reunites all the major actors (Hell, ALL the actors, they even lured back "The Shermanator" and Casey Affleck to do another cameo as Kevin's older brother) and brings back the screenwriter for another serving of teenage/college student hormones run amok. The first one was pretty much spot on in examining the pleasures and mostly pitfalls that befall adolescent males and females. Well, the second one does an eerily accurate job of detailing how those same interests are put under strain by college and the awkwardness of hanging out in the summer with people who are too busy with school the rest of the year.
Two years finds our characters older but not necessarily wiser. Jim (Jason Biggs) is still attempting to get into the pants of every woman around him. Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is still hung up on Vicki (Tara Reid). Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) is now into Eastern practices and obsessed with Stiffler's mom. Oz and Heather (Chris Klien and Mena Suvari) are still completely in love. And Stiffler (Seann William Scott) still wants to nail anything that moves.

The great thing about both of these movies is their healthy attitude toward sex. And the amount of respect they have toward their female characters. The women in a movie like this are a lot more than just walking tit jokes, and that is a refreshing change of pace. In fact, they still get back the men in the movie in at least one scene of both movies, preying on their horniness for their own amusement. In the last movie, that was done in the Nadia on the internet scene. In this one, there is a scene involving two women who may or may not be lesbians that brings down the house in much the same way. It even involves public humiliation.

Every scene in this movie, in fact, has an antecedent in the first one. But it doesn't just coast along, recycling every joke as in the damn Austin Powers sequel (Ugh! That piece of shit!). No, the way it's done in this film reminded me of a Bond film. At certain points in a Bond film, you just expect a certain thing to happen. You know what I mean: the dinner with the villain scene, the opening action sequence, the big finish. Here you get the following structure: the opening scene in which Jim is humiliated via parental discovery, the party at Stiffler's house in which Stiffler becomes the butt of a joke, the big scene where women humiliate at least one man publicly, and the final big party or Prom in which people are hoping to get laid. But the screenwriter Adam Herz knows how to put a fresh spin on the material and wrings a LOT of laughs out of it.

All of the actors do a wonderful job here also: Eugene Levy, Jason Biggs, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Seann William Scott, Chris Klein, Allyson Hannigan (great as the band geek again, and with more screen time), Shannon Elizabeth (looking odd this time), Tara, Mena, and all the others. The writing is great, the laughs are just as big, the characters are still not just caricatures, and Allyson Hannigan is just a sweetie...a sweetie who likes to masturbate with a flute, but still.

If you're on the fence: just go already. If you liked the first one, you're guaranteed to have a good time here too.