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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Say 'Bye, Bye' to AMERICAN PIE
by Betty Jo Tucker

What could be more amusing than a bunch of sex-obsessed teenagers? Almost anything, but not for the young audience attending a recent sneak preview of American Pie. Laughter prevailed throughout the showing of this teen sex comedy about four high school boys hell-bent on losing their virginity before graduation.

Obviously attempting to follow in the footsteps of There’s Something About Mary, the movie’s creators use sexual sight gags and toilet humor to shock viewers. Unfortunately, they neglect to tie all this together with an interesting script --- an important factor in Mary’s success. The film’s worst (or best, depending on your point of view) gross-out scenes involve drinking beer spiked with a certain bodily fluid, watching an E-mail video of a sexy exchange student undressing, and discovering an unusual way to enjoy pastry (hence the film’s title).

A favorite American philosopher, Homer J. Simpson, would explain, “There’s no moral here, just a lot of stuff happening.” And some of that stuff appears stolen from previous movies. There’s an older woman seduction scene straight out of The Graduate and a “rush to the bathroom” sequence similar to a much funnier one in Dumb and Dumber.

Amid a cast of unknown young actors, two performances stand out. Chris Klein (Election) manages to win over viewers, even adults, with his good looks and comic timing. As a jock who hopes to get a new girlfriend by joining the school chorus, Klein portrays one of the movie’s few sympathetic characters, and he makes the most of it.

Newcomer Alyson Hannigan shows promise as a nerdy music student who bores her prom date (at least in the beginning) with dozens of stories that always begin, “And one time at Band Camp. . ."

It’s not easy to criticize American Pie without sounding like the Church Lady. But movies like Big Daddy, South Park, and American Pie must be recognized for what they are --- examples of films highlighting the corruption of young people. These movies suggest to youngsters that the consequences of questionable behavior are slight, if any. While that might be funny, it’s also irresponsible filmmaking.

(Released by Universal Pictures and rated “R” for pervasive sexuality, partial nudity, strong language, crude sexual dialogue, and alcohol consumption, all involving teens.) 

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