American Pie 2 (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner10/10/2001

Three out of five stars
Running time: 105 mins

American Pie 2 serves up pretty much everything you could expect from a sequel in terms of gross-out gags and comic set-pieces, but sadly lacks the heart of the first one and criminally shifts the focus to exclude the majority of the girls.

After the runaway smash hit that American Pie became (spawning a legion of sub-par gross-out comedies in its wake), a sequel was clearly inevitable.

What’s surprising is that the filmmakers have managed to lure back every single cast member from the original, even if some of them end up with such a criminally small amount of screen time that it’s not clear why they bothered coming back. (There must have been some mighty binding contracts floating about…)

The plot, needless to say, is simplicity itself. It’s a year later and, freshly returned from college, the four boys (Jim – Jason Biggs, Oz – Chris Klein, Kevin – Thomas Ian Nicolas and Finch – Eddie Kaye Thomas) decide to rent a summer house by the beach, in order to get down to some grade ‘A’ partying.

Stifler (Seann William Scott) comes along too because…well, because he was one of the best things about the first movie.

No one has really moved on since the first film: Finch still pines for Stifler’s Mom (Jennifer Coolidge), Kevin agonises over whether he can remain Just Good Friends with Vicky (Tara Reid, criminally wasted).

Oz tries to maintain a long-distance phone relationship with Heather (Mena Suvari), who’s travelling the world (translation: ‘who had the best agent’).

Jim, who hasn’t had sex since the last movie, is anxious to re-unite with Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth), and he hooks up with ‘band camp’ Michelle (Allyson Hannigan) so she can teach him some ‘moves’. Meanwhile, Stifler becomes a trifle preoccupied with the lesbians in the house next door.

What’s happened with the sequel is that the producers have obviously decided that Jim and Stifler were the two funniest things about the first movie (fair enough), and so between them, they get the most gags and the most screen time.

This means we get much more of Michelle (A Good Thing) and her penchant for sticking musical instruments in amusing places ("Aren’t instruments fun?"), but at the expense of the other female characters, in particular Tara Reid and the excellent Natasha Lyonne (Jessica).

This is a shame, because what made the first film stand out was its equal focus on the girls and what they wanted – apart from Michelle, the other girls are barely even given any decent lines this time round, let alone their own story-lines.

That’s not to say the gag-quotient isn’t as high as in the previous movie, with various set pieces involving superglue, trumpets and urine being mistaken for champagne that all hit the highs (and plumb the depths) of the original.

Biggs, in particular, provides another object lesson in comic embarrassment and his Dad (Eugene Levy) is, of course, on hand to provide advice that is pure comedy gold.

In the end, if you liked the first film, then you won’t be disappointed with the sequel. Several of the gags are laugh-out-loud funny and the actors are all so likeable that it’s easy to enjoy their performances.

Whether anyone will still have any appetite for American Pie 3, though, well, that’s another matter.

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American Pie 2 (15)
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Content updated: 17/10/2017 15:58

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