Many movies find their ideal setting on cable television movie channels. Often, these movies are comedies featuring many quick and easily comprehended gags. Lots of times, these movies rely heavily on funny sights and sounds. Certain members of this class of film utilize, nay, depend on copious amounts of female nudity. Coincidentally, films in this genre of a certain era (late 1990’s/ early 2000’s) feature Blink-182 songs. However, while these films may seem easily reproduced, an air of authenticity and sincerity almost always escapes their later direct-to-DVD relatives. A chasm separates the American Pie‘s, Cruel Intentions‘s, and Van Wilder’s of the world from the American Pie: Beta House‘s, Cruel Intetions 2: The Prequel‘s, and the Van Wilder: The Phantom Menace‘s of the world.
But then, there is American Pie 2.
What a specimen, what an anomaly! While still fitting the style of the original American Pie, there is something disappeared from the movie. As rumors of revamping the series surface, it is useful as a society to look back American Pie 2. Also, it has been on television all the fucking time lately.
American Pie 2: This isn’t your father’s American Pie! Because your father is an adult and loves the Highlander. While American Pie is a coming-of-age tale (Ed. note: I was going to spell that as “cumming-of-age” but thought it would be crass. Then I thought it would not be too crass for a parenthetical note), American Pie 2 is about what happens NEXT. Well, it’s not what happens in college but more what happens AFTER college. But, it doesn’t take place after four years of college, mind you. It is about that odd summer between freshman year of college and sophomore year of college. Lives are so different! Home is so weird (The movie makes it out that this is the first time all these guys have been home in a year. Really, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and spring breaks? No time to visit home? Whatevs)!
Henry Rowengartner, I mean Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), decides to keep all his friends together by getting a Lake House. Here, Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves send messages to each other using a magical mailbox. Meanwhile, Kevin and the boys have a sex-crazed summer. Not so much Kevin, though. Kevin has so many issues with moving on! He can’t let go of his friends, he can’t let go of his ex-girlfriend (Vicky played by pre-train wreck Tara Reid), he can’t get over life! Admittedly, I love Rookie of the Year as much as anyone else who was born from 1986-1991, so it was tough sort of hating Kevin during this whole movie. I just wanted him to have a better life! These are the ways movies play with my heart.
This movie doesn’t just focus on our favorite rookie. Jim (Jason Biggs) tries to mentally prepare himself fuck Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth), Stifler (Sean William Scott) becomes the Han Solo of these movies, Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) tries to fuck Stifler’s Mom (Jennifer Coolidge), and Oz (Chris Klein) tries to win a high school presidential election while maintaing his long-distance relationship with Mena Suvari’s Heather. Everyone succeeds in some way or another. Also, we GO TO BAND CAMP. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourself for band camp.
Since the first film did a lot for MILFs, the appeal of band instruments, internet video sex broadcasts, and autoerotic baked good experiences, the sequel attempts to make its own cultural marks. Make no mistake though, this is not a film about pie fucking. I repeat, there is no pie fucking. To symbolically represent this, Jim’s mother drops a baked good on his dorm room floor within the first five minutes of the movie. SHATTER THE PIE STEREOTYPES. They throw some interesting points out there, such as the double standards concerning the amount of sexual partners each men and women can discuss. In real talk, though, no one really discusses the important lessons they learned watching American Pie 2 (Ed. note: Except this blog).
The film attempts to recreate the internet sex broadcast scene of the first film by upping the ante. What I mean by upping the ante is encountering two women that may be lesbians. It’s strange to think that before American Pie 2, there was no heterosexual male obsession with sapphic love. What a strange world!
The movie reveals how to spot a woman who is interested in women sexually. As Stifler searches around the suspects’ home, he finds a blue dildo(!) which apparently proves his suspicions. It’s strange to think that in 2001, only lesbians used fake penises. Heterosexual women were relegated to using common household items, such as flutes, for masturbatory purposes.
A mix up in CB radio frequencies replaces the unintentional mass e-mail in the first movie. Not only do Jim and his pals get to experience the spectacle, but lots of people with radios get to HEAR it. Exhibition! In regards to technology, American Pie 2 works in a magical past world. Many plot points would be rendered useless with the wide availability of cell phones, video chatting, or WebMD. Oddly enough, American Pie 2 hinges on those gags that would be rendered useless. People walking into places unannounced, mistaken identities, and phones without Caller ID’s are the commodities in which the American Pie series trades, and occasionally, ladies and gentlemen, business is booming.
The movie has other successes. These include montages, Alyson Hannigan, and the soundtrack. Specifically, Alyson Hannigan and the soundtrack.
Alyson Hannigan is funny and cute and curses a bunch. These are the things of which dreams are made.
To the soundtrack! This song!
But then this one?
But the rest of it is great! Blink-182! American Hi-Fi! Fenix TX!
Shannon Elizabeth also continues to do a job at a vague foreign accent. Her accent comes the forefront when Jim realizes he has always been a band geek, but he just never joined the band. Nadia’s vague foreign accent adds depth to the scene. There is also a weird sort of Virginia Woolf reference? So many levels, American Pie 2!
Where did things go? The next installment of the series (American Wedding) tried to turn the franchise from teen sex romp to raunchy romantic comedy (I guess in the Wedding Crashers mold). Then, the DVD movies started, each one focusing on a different member of the Stifler clan (Which is weird, because for two movies, you hate the Stifler clan. Then, in American Wedding, Stifler redeems himself by getting with Betty Draper, but we know how temperamental she can be). The message of American Pie 2 is to take the next step, but the franchise can never really do that.
I wonder if the traditional teen sex comedy romp is possible now. Maybe this is just nostalgia talking, diagnosing a lull as an impossibility, but I don’t think it is. Juno sort of turned some of those tropes into a quirky, cute bundle of aww. Superbad turned those tropes into a Apatowian version of high school, filled with ironic funk and foul-mouthed nerds. Perhaps someone will have to recreate the conditions by joining the next set of young stars with Christopher Guest mainstays but I digress.
In conclusion, we are all band geeks. Embrace the band geek. Put some drums on. Be your own hero!
BONUS: Here is the trailer in German!