Americana Movie Month: "American Pie 2" Review


Americana Movie Month: "American Pie 2" Review

-- Rating: R
Length: 108 minutes
Release Date: Aug. 10, 2001
Directed by: J.B. Rogers
Genre: Comedy/Romance

In "American Pie," four friends banded together to weather the ups and downs of high school. "American Pie 2" reunites the friends, plus Steve Stifler, in a comedy that will have viewers laughing out loud. The plot focuses on Jim Levenstein (Jason Biggs) and his friends Paul Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), Chris "Oz" Ostreicher (Chris Klein), and Kevin Myers (Thomas Ian Nichols). Jim has just finished his first year at college and is ready to meet up with his best friends for a summer full of fun.

After returning to East Great Falls, everyone attends a party at Steve Stifler's (Seann William Scott) house. The guys hope that their status as college students will give them a little leeway with the ladies, but the women at the party are less than impressed. Not only that, but the cops break up the party and leave the gang looking for other ways to have fun. Kevin calls his brother (Casey Affleck), who advises him that the beach is where all the action is at. The five friends decide to rent a beach house in Michigan. The only way they can afford the rent at the beach house is if they invite Stifler to go with them, so they begrudgingly extend an invitation.

When they arrive at the beach, the friends decide to throw a huge bash to celebrate being back together. Jim finds out that Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth), his love interest from "American Pie," will be attending the party. He panics about his lack of finesse and begs lovable band geek Michelle Flaherty (Alyson Hannigan) to give him advice.

The party gets off to a rocky start when Kevin sees his ex-girlfriend Vicky (Tara Reid) with a new boyfriend. Kevin reveals that he never truly got over Vicky after they broke up. After consoling his friend, Jim meets Nadia on the beach. Instead of using Michelle's advice to put the moves on Nadia, he realizes that he has fallen in love with Michelle. He rushes to the local band camp, where he finds Michelle in the middle of a performance. With confidence, he takes the stage and plays the trombone to show how much he cares about her. The film closes with Jim and Michelle kissing in front of the entire concert audience.

Although one might expect a sequel with the same characters and a similar premise as its predecessor to be boring, that is not the case with "American Pie 2." J.B. Rogers did a great job of giving the series new life without relying on tired gags and new characters that don't add anything to the plot. Viewers see Jim and the gang as familiar friends, making it easy to root for their success. The film does use some familiar plot devices-such as Jim's unknowingly broadcasting his exploits to others-but these devices belong in this movie.

Jason Biggs was made for the role of Jim Levenstein. Even though Biggs is a well-known actor, he was able to make viewers forget about his celebrity status and believe that he was really a bumbling college guy who made all the wrong moves when it came to women. Although Jim finds himself in some of the same situations he did in "American Pie," viewers do get to see some character growth. By the end of "American Pie 2," Jim is more interested in a romantic relationship with Michelle than he is in a fling with Nadia.

Seann William Scott is the perfect foil for Jim, Kevin, Paul, and Oz. While four of the friends have matured since their high school days, Stifler is still the same party animal with a penchant for raunchy jokes. This is a role that Seann William Scott plays well, as he's had success with similar characters in "Dude, Where's My Car?" and "Role Models." One thing that's missing from "American Pie 2" is the presence of Mena Suvari, who plays Oz's girlfriend. Although she does appear in the film, she gets little screen time because the plot has her traveling. Most of her scenes involve talking to Oz on the telephone, so the audience misses out on getting to see her interact with the other characters.

While "American Pie 2" was not nominated for an Oscar, it did find its niche with an audience who was invested in Jim's story. The movie won an MTV Teen Choice Award for best comedy and an MTV Movie Award for "best kiss." Seann William Scott was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for best comedic performance and won the Teen Choice Award for "choice sleazebag."

Rating: 3 out of 5