95 Min | Comedy – Romance | October 1999
IMDB Rating: 7.0
Directors: Paul Weitz, Chris Weitz
Starring: Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas
American Pie Review: The director and the writer, Paul Weitz and Adam Herz respectively, will do anything for a laugh — that’s good, as it turns out, because this movie has a great many laughs in it. There’s not much of that restricting, suffocating “logic” stuff around, but “American Pie” is immensely enjoyable. I mean, almost none of the things that happen in this film would ever, ever come to pass in real life, but it doesn’t matter. For starters, the characters aren’t all one-dimensional. Thankfully, they’re two-dimensional, so right away it has an edge on 60-70% of all the movies ever made.
Moreover, it’s heart is in the right place. Most high school movies these days are all about cruelty and malice, especially towards (and among) the women. Not the case here in American Pie. This is the first conventional high school movie I’ve ever seen that made me smile so much (I say conventional because “Rushmore” still trumps every one of them). Furthermore, it’s very funny. I wouldn’t dare give away any of the really great gags (we’ve all seen the trailer — that’s not the one I mean), but I’ll say this Weitz and Herz are extraordinarily skilled in audience manipulation, which is to say that they know how and when to spring unexpected surprises upon us. They also know how to use foul language for punch, rather than punctuation.
The soundtrack is another positive. It’s all about joy and high energy — even music from Third Eye Blind and Barenaked Ladies that suffers from radio overplay fits the mood appropriately. There are genuine moments on the screen where the guys and gals have revelations of sincerity. It adds a needed depth to a film like this, where it’s not just raw, raunchy comedy, but important to the lives of the characters who know more than sex is at stake. Which is another reason to like Pie, there are several slices, and sexual conquest is only one of them.
Links to Download ‘American Pie’ in the excellent SQ print: