After reinventing the sex comedy in 1999's American Pie, AP2 had a high bar to live up to, and miraculously, it has done so. It actually outdoes the original (by a mile) when it comes to juvenile and crude humor. And the sex gags... jeez, the dick jokes come rapid fire, one every minute. It ain't Woody Allen, but damn if it isn't utterly hysterical.
Where Freddy Got Fingered failed, American Pie 2 succeeds admirably. It's silly and largely immature, but it's also original, clever, cheeky, and has enough borderline sophistication to maintain plenty of appeal for the adults in the audience. (And parents, if I haven't made this clear, this is a very adult movie, wholly unsuitable for any child you don't want to end up as the town slut, male or female.)
Never mind the plot, which is an awkward construct of a bunch of returning characters in search of a story. And apparently they didn't find one, so they just remade American Pie, only set one year later. This time out, the characters are coming home from their first year at college, facing the same disillusionment they bore in high school. To find the meaning in all of it, the stars decide to rent a lakefront beach house so opulent it might as well be the set for The Real World: Michigan.
Aside from minor details, the rest of the plot is largely the same. AP2 starts with another party at Stifler's, and it ends at another big blowout bash. Couples are formed and couples are broken. Stifler's mom makes the requisite appearance. Jim's dad causes havoc.
Thanks to his tension-busting charisma, Seann William Scott's Stifler has a greatly increased presence in the sequel, but all the girls except for Alyson Hannigan's flute-toter have been practically cut out of the film. Tara Reid and Mena Suvari have arguably become the biggest breakout stars from the original; they were obviously the busiest during shooting and had to be disposed of conveniently for the sequel (Suvari's character is shipped overseas for the summer in an awkward, sitcom-feeling device). No worry -- Reid and Suvari aren't funny anyway.
The only thing that really interferes with the enjoyment of the movie is that all of its stars have made so many bad knock-offs of American Pie in the last two years that they've lost any sense of identity with the characters that made them so original and endearing. Chris Klein has become a jokey caricature of himself -- from Say It Isn't So to Here on Earth to Election (a great film, but basically the same character again). Ditto Jason Biggs, who played a wishy-washy loser in Loser and Saving Silverman. And Seann William Scott has turned into a generic bozo in Evolution and Dude, Where's My Car? Oddly, though, the biggest stretch, which surprised me, is seeing Mena Suvari again playing an innocent girl next door. After films like American Beauty, she's broken her own mold pretty permanently.
Of course, there's no hope searching for any kind of meaning in American Pie 2. Relying on the older brother of Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) to once again show the kids the way, our heroes are just interested in movin' on with their lives, because now that they're 19 years old, you know, shouldn't there be some meaning in all of it? And in full Pie style, the answer is found... by throwing a beach party.
Damn, I wish I was a kid again.
You get even more raunch on the AP2 DVD, especially the unrated version, which gives you outtakes and deleted scenes, screen tests from the original Pie (before Alyson Hannigan had developed the funky accent and when Finch's character name was "French"), commentaries (four of 'em, including one from Eddie Kaye Thomas solo), and more. Highly, hilariously recommended.
One time at band camp.
Run time: 108 mins
In Theaters: Friday 10th August 2001
Box Office USA: $144.0M
Box Office Worldwide: $287.6M
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Production compaines: Universal Pictures, Liveplanet, Zide-Perry Productions
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 52%
Fresh: 66 Rotten: 60
IMDB: 6.4 / 10
Director: James B. Rogers
Screenwriter: Adam Herz
Starring: Jason Biggs as Jim Levenstein, Thomas Ian Nicholas as Kevin Myers, Chris Klein as Chris 'Oz' Ostreicher, Seann William Scott as Steve Stifler, Eddie Kaye Thomas as Paul Finch, Shannon Elizabeth as Nadia, Alyson Hannigan as Michelle Flaherty, Natasha Lyonne as Jessica, Tara Reid as Victoria 'Vicky' Lathum, Mena Suvari as Heather, Chris Owen as Chuck Sherman, Eugene Levy as Jim's Father, Molly Cheek as Jim's Mother, Denise Faye as Danielle, Lisa Arturo as Amber, John Cho as John, Justin Isfeld as Justin, Eli Marienthal as Matt Stifler, Casey Affleck as Tom Myers, Tsianina Joelson as Amy, Lacey Beeman as Amy's Friend, Jennifer Coolidge as Stifler's Mom