Review: ‘American Pie 2’

The gang from the 1999 coming-of-age film are back, this time as college students home for summer vacation. Unfortunately, trading more heart for less fun sets this sex comedy sequel up as a store-bought, preservative-filled imitation of the original homemade “Pie.”

When the guys (and girls) return home for summer break after their first year of college, they decide to rent a beachhouse and see what trouble they can get themselves into. Between renewing old acquaintances and making a few new ones, everybody finds out a little more about themselves and grows a litle wiser. Oh, and everyone pretty much ends up having sex… off-screen, of course.

Fans of the original “American Pie” should have no trouble falling comfortably in step with the all their favorite characters again, mostly since they haven’t changed one bit in the interim. In the original, the guy’s goal was to have sex for the first time, while it isn’t all that clear exactly what they hope to find this time around. For example, to get everybody in the same place again for another party, the same brother that, in the first film, advised his younger sibling where the ‘ultimate sex guide’ was hidden, this time cryptically commands, “Go have a party and you’ll understand.” Interestingly, this idea sounds borrowed and customized from “Wayne’s World 2,” but that’s just pure speculation on my part.

Most of the relationships are continued from the first, so the only one taking any adventurous risks (aka ‘initiating all the funny stuff’) is Seann William Scott as Stifler, the group’s confirmed bachelor. When Scott’s on the screen, it’s hard not to laugh because he plays such a dedicated jerk, but as soon as he leaves, it’s back to heartfelt growing up. Alyson Hannigan also shines as the unpredictable band-camp loving Michelle, a character that’s actually weirder than the one she plays on television’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Finally, there’s something disturbingly wholesome about Eugene Levy playing Jim’s Dad; as a father that wants the best for his son, Levy delievers out-of-bound lines with all the obliviousness of parenthood.

“American Pie” was mostly exceptional for its timing in the marketplace and the risks it was willing to take the first time around. While the sequel is a faithful continuation of the original, it comes pre-packaged without the edge that made it stand out in the first place. We know it’s just a sequel, guys, but did you have to make it JUST a sequel?

(a typical two and a half out of four skull sequel)

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