American Pie

1999, Movie, R, 100 mins


If John Hughes had directed PORKY'S, the result would be something like this alternately sweet and raucous comedy about four graduating high school seniors determined not to enter college as virgins. Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is the only one who's gotten as far as finding a steady girlfriend, Vicky (Tara Reid), and it's he who proposes the pact: Lose it by prom night or forever hang your head in shame. Computer savvy Jim (Jason Biggs) has a hopeless crush on a leggy foreign exchange student, while his clueless, concerned dad (Eugene Levy) is eager to dispense fatherly advice about porno magazines, self-abuse and why sexual congress with baked goods is a losing proposition. Lacrosse jock Oz (Chris Klein) joins the school chorus in hopes of scoring with some desperate goodie-goodie girl like Heather (Mena Suvari), only to find that he likes singing and likes Heather even more. And budding sophisticate Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) winds up singing the praises of older women. In between, there are the requisite toilet jokes, locker room talk about body parts, high school humiliations and bodily fluids in places they don't belong, all dressed up with the trappings of the '90s: Where horny PORKY'S-era teens had to be satisfied with looking through a hole in the girl's locker room wall, today's hormonal slaves can play peeping tom online via the wonders of CUCMe and streaming video. Let's hear it for better living through science. Is it stupid? Yeah. Is it often pretty funny? Well, yeah. The young cast members are generally engaging, and Klein is a standout among the leads. In supporting roles, Natasha Lyonne shines as a no-nonsense classmate, and Alyson Hannigan, essentially reprising her role as bookworm Willow from TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, delivers what may be the movie's most unexpected line. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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