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AMERICAN PIE

SYNOPSIS:
Jim (Jason Biggs), Oz (Chris Klein), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) face the prospect of - shock, horror - graduating a virgin. Losing IT, or scoring, is the prime objective, but how to do that is fraught with risk and impediment. A choirgirl, Heather (Mena Suvari), Kevin's long time girlfriend, Vicky (Tara Reid), Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth), a foreign exchange student, are all likely scores, while Jessica (Natasha Lyonne) is a source of worldly wisdom. And there is no easy score . . . and when it does come to the crunch, strange things happen to the would-be Casanovas.

"Not for oldies, not for squares, American Pie is more frank (read: gross) than Something About Mary when it comes to bodily fluids, and more clinically sexual than a medical course in reproduction. That's why in some respects it's a sad film - for those of us who grew up in a more sexually conservative era. The film has little appeal to anyone older than 25 (19 is about market centre). No doubt accurate in its depiction of contemporary American youth culture, it reveals a world so brazen about sexuality that we may as well be in a brightly lit supermarket as a bedroom. At the same time, it is inventive, funny and fresh, with a bustling soundtrack that pulsates with 'today'. There is plenty of fun to be had and the entire cast is terrific, several of them losing their screen virginity as actors in ways they could never have imagined at drama school. Entirely swallowed up by its theme - young, inexpert, inexperienced, eager and bumbling sex - American Pie is certainly focused, but the resolutions for the characters at the end turn the film's premise around and make it as homely as American apple pie. And if you ever see the film, that ironic symbol will echo in your cinematic conscience."
Andrew L. Urban

"Bubbling with attitude, American Pie is a delicious morsel filled with delectable surprises. It's a film of firsts from the pen of first-time screenwriter Adam Herz to director Paul Weitz and his producer brother Chris. But the firsts are not limited to the filmmakers. No siree: this is a story about sex and the first time from the point of view of four hot-blooded students, eager to progress from third base to the next stage. There's the male bonding, the sharing of intimate revelations (nudge-nudge, wink-wink) and where they each stand in prowess on the ladder of the sexually adept. Not for the prudish or conservative, American Pie is really about growing up. When bets are on that each of the protagonists will lose his virginity by the night of the Prom, each believes that that is his goal. We wholeheartedly jump aboard for the journey. But by the end of the film, the goals have changed and everyone gets more than he bargains for. Performances are tops - Jason Biggs is delightfully desperate as Jim. The scene-stealer when Jim dances in his bedroom, as a heavily bosomed temptress reclines on his bed all broadcast live on the internet is one that rivals that scene in Risky Business with Tom Cruise. I am still chuckling over it. Watch out for the scenes of father/son sex education, with Eugene Levy at his crackling best. Chris Klein is well cast, contrasting the brash lacross-playing hunk with the new age sensitive guy. This is a film both sexes will enjoy the guys will probably see some truths, while the gals will smirk knowingly that guys are so stupid. The use of music is both entertaining and clever, with a great soundtrack that keeps the toes tapping and the emotions raging. Energetic, fresh and original, American Pie is universally fun a funny, irreverent look at sexuality."
Louise Keller

"For proper effect, you really need to see American Pie in a cinema packed full of teenagers. You're not getting the whole movie if you're not hearing a crowd squeal with laughter and disgust; the many scenes of sexual disaster are as excruciating as anything in Todd Solondz's Happiness, though less coldly repellent. As an attempt to renovate the teen sex comedy for the late '90s, American Pie is a raging success. Semen jokes and all, the material speaks to its audience very directly - with horny teenage guys, a lot of their feelings really are pretty gross, blunt and over-the-top, nothing contrived about that. The tone modulates skilfully, as it needs to, between panic and wish-fulfilment, between realism and fantasy, between cartoon cruelty and a nuanced sense of character. Here the film is greatly helped by the talented (mainly unknown) cast, who bring a lot of shading to the crude and sketchy script. Of the supporting players I liked Eddie Kaye Thomas as the nerdy, aloof Finch; Natasha Lyonne as the earthy voice of reason (a slightly demeaning part - hopefully she won't get typecast in this kind of role); and especially Mena Suvari as a choir-girl whose childlike beauty hides a wary intelligence. But don't get me wrong - despite the strong presence of women, this is very, very far from being a feminist movie. The girls never move beyond their function as objects of male desire, and the attempts to represent their point of view are clumsy to say the least. Every would-be 'sensitive' scene or overturned stereotype is followed by a moment of triumphant leering voyeurism. Which again could be true to life; but that's not saying that female viewers won't feel beaten into the ground by the film's single-minded preoccupation."
Jake Wilson

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

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Andrew L. Urban talks to
JASON BIGGS
and CHRIS KLEIN

TRAILER

SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

See our DVD REVIEW

AMERICAN PIE (MA)
(US)

CAST: Jason Biggs, Shannon Elizabeth, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Sean W. Scott, Mena Suvari, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Eugene Levy.

DIRECTOR: Paul Weitz

PRODUCERS: Warren Zide, Craig Perry, Chris Moore and Chris Weitz

SCRIPT: Adam Herz

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Richard Crudo

EDITOR: Priscilla Nedd-Friendly A.C.E.

MUSIC: David Lawrence

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Paul Peters

RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 16, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: February 16, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Universal Pictures Video







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