It’s been a long time since I first visited American Pie. What was once the R-rated comedy of the late 90’s is now just another title that for some reason really appealed to audiences in its day. I remember initially liking the film when it first came out, but I never had the urge to revisit. In fact, I’ve only ever seen the film once before. Returning to it now, in preparation for American Reunion leaves me with lots of questions. Why did this film get a sequel in the first place and why is Universal returning to the “series” for another outing? American Pie is just another byproduct of the 90’s that’s not all that funny and not all that original or fresh. It just sort of exists.
Jim (Jason Biggs) and his group of friends are on the verge of graduating high school. They’ve got only a few weeks left and with that in mind they’d like to not be virgins going into college. They make a pact to have sex right after prom. Each of them go their own way, with Jim trying to score with a foreign exchange studio, Oz (Chris Klein) trying to let out his emotional side with a Jazz singer, Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) advancing his relationship with his girlfriend and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) continuing to do whatever it is that he does to score with the ladies.
All four of them approach sex very differently and all four of them end up with varying results. American Pie in some conversations has been called one of the best teen comedies of the 90’s and that bothers me. On one hand watching the film does bring back fun memories of the 90’s, but only because of its setting. Not once does the film actually become memorable for its characters or story. After watching the film again I still can’t remember much of anything about it.
All I remember is Jim acts like an idiot for most of the film while Stifler shouts out obnoxious gestures that aren’t the least bit funny. There’s one or two exchanges between Jim and his dad that are kind of awkwardly funny, but the bulk of the film is just a bunch of flat jokes and very shallow thinking. It’s not even all that entertaining and there’s nothing really cute or charming about the characters to begin with. It just baffles me knowing that the film was so successful and profitable that it earned 2 immediate sequels and now a long-lost sequel that’s coming out in just a few weeks.
Revisiting old comedies is supposed to be fun and nostalgic, not boring and tiresome. American Pie still feels like an under-cooked attempt at humor with nothing but filler. It’s not bad to the point of bringing it up for avoidance, but it’s just not worth mentioning. It’s the type of film that is easily forgettable and if you do come across it on USA Network or something you’ll find a laugh or two and then go about your day without even remembering that you watched it.
There’s a lot of wrong with American Pie‘s 1080p video transfer. It feels a lot older than the 90’s with barely any detail or sharpness. I know comedies aren’t the formats strong suit, but it almost looks like an upconverted DVD. Bright colors look nice, but the film is far from a clean and popping transfer. Chances are Universal used an old master of the film, which is too bad because I don’t see any need for this to get a 25th anniversary re-release down the road. It’s not worth wasting the money.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track shares similar problems. It feels just as dated and just as muffled. There’s barely any activity in the entire film. Everything seems to come out of the front channels from start to finish. Dialogue doesn’t become a problem trying to understand, but everything on the whole is very soft and quiet.
Have no fear, the special features are here! American Pie may look kind of boring and sound even worse, but at least the disc is stuffed full of special features. Check out the full list below:
- Theatrical & Unrated Cuts
- Audio Commentary
- American Pie Revealed: The Complete Story of All Three Comedies (SD)
- Casting Tapes (SD)
- Poster Concepts (SD)
- Spotlight on Location (SD)
- From the Set (SD)
- Deleted Scenes (SD)
- Outtakes (SD)
- Tonic Live Performance (SD)
- Music Video (SD)
- American Reunion: A Look Inside (HD)
- American Pie Theatrical Trailer (SD)
- DVD Copy
- Digital Copy
American Reunion is just around the corner and if American Pie is any indication of what we’re going to get then we’d better keep the expectations low. I’m not trying to dog on the film too hard, but I’m just so shocked at how bad the film holds up from original memory. I don’t recall loving the film or anything, but I do recall at the very least enjoying it. Watching it years later either shows me that my taste has changed drastically (which I don’t think it has) or that the film is a dated comedy that didn’t quite make it out of the 90’s unscratched.
It just doesn’t stack up against other films from the same era or even against some of the poorer films from this decade. It’s not a bad movie by any means, but at the same time it’s not all that good. I wouldn’t continue ranting like this had the movie only been a one-and-done experience, but there are sequels! How did this happen?
The Blu-Ray package is a very bottom of the barrel experience. Not much time or effort was dedicated to transferring this film over to the high def format, but I don’t really think that should come as much of a surprise. It’s a quick cash in on the new film coming out and we should be lucky that Universal was kind enough to port over all of the extras and supply us with not only a Blu-Ray disc, but a DVD and Digital Copy as well. Fans of the series will want to grab this; everyone else will want to skip over it like they did when the DVD’s came out.
American Pie isn't the worst thing to come out of the 90's, but it isn't worthy of sequels and it's more or less a forgettable comedy that doesn't hold up well against time.