"This one time, at Band Camp..."
Coming two years after the successful American Pie, American Pie 2 finds friends Jim, Finch, Oz, Kevin and Stifler coming to the end of their first year of college. Little seems to have changed for the group as they’re still battling to get laid. Some have been successful with this but others have not. After returning home they find life strange. Kevin talks to his older brother who suggests that they rent a beach house by the lake for the summer and throw a huge party to attract women. Meanwhile, Jim finds out that ‘the one who got away’, Nadia is going to stop by at the end of summer and searches out band geek Michelle to teach him the art of seducing and satisfying a woman.
As I mentioned in my review of American Pie, I used to love these movies. In 2001 an even larger group of friends than for the first went to our local two screen cinema to enjoy a second slice of pie. We were howling with laughter at the events we saw in front of us. Eleven years and about 6-7 viewings later and the film has definitely lost its edge. I hadn’t realised how few laughs there were in the film. It isn’t even as funny as the recent Amercian Reunion.
I might have enjoyed the film more if I’d seen it for the first time but it was one of the first DVDs I owned and there were boobs so I’d seen it many times as a teenager. What struck me this time, having not seen it for around 5 years or so is how boring it is. Kevin spends the entire movie moping around because his ex girlfriend only wants to be friends, Oz spends most of the film on the phone, talking to his girlfriend in Europe and Finch gets into tantra which I think is meant to be funny but apart from the odd strange look or funny comment from Stifler, it’s really dull. Stifler himself has absolutely no character arc. The only interesting story line is that of Jim going to Michelle for sexual training. This is quite cute and occasionally funny. Their breakup scene is probably the funniest part of this subplot.
Two scenes stand out for me, even now. The first is the scene is the one in which three of the friends break into the house they are painting in search of evidence that the residents are lesbians. The look of excitement on Stifler’s face when he finds a dildo is priceless and the games that the women play with the guys are really funny. It’s nice to see women get their own back in what is otherwise quite a misogynistic series of films. The second standout scene is the one in which Jim glues himself, to himself. I cringed with embarrassment for him back in 2001 and again now. The discussion with his dad afterwards is also very funny. I think that the film makers finally learned what worked and what didn’t by the forth instalment as there was much more of Jim’s dad and Stifler than in the original trilogy. They also toned down the dramatic scenes.
Another reason I liked the film was because of its soundtrack. As a child of the 90s, hearing Blink-182’s punk rock chords over the opening took me back to my teens and the likes of Alien Ant Farm, Sum 41 and Green Day also took me back and made me want to dig out my old CDs.
Overall this is a film which I adored as a fifteen year old but much like American Pie has lost its charms. It isn’t as funny as the original or the forth film and left me disappointed. Much like the original, I wish that I hadn’t watched it again so I could keep the memories of how much I once liked it rather than realising that it was boring, had no story and wasn’t funny.