American Pie Dvd

Written by Sarah Provost
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I didn't have any intention of seeing American Pie. As a mature woman, I generally have little interest in "zit flicks," especially when they're as raunchy as this one seemed to be, judging by the trailers, ads, and reviews. Then I caught a bit of it on HBO. I turned it off after a few minutes, wanting to watch from the beginning. I have no trouble admitting when I've been wrong.

Yes, this movie is raunchy enough to desecrate Mom's apple pie. Yes, it follows the tried and true formula of teenage boys striving desperately to lose their virginity. And yes, Stifler has got to be one of the most annoying, repulsive characters this genre has spawned. But despite the gratuitous nudity and unending emphasis on sex, there's a sweetness to this movie that can't be denied.

Excellent Ensemble Cast

Much of that is due to the sensitive acting of Jason Biggs, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Eddie Kaye Thomas, and especially Chris Klein as the four who swear to score by prom night. Adam Hertz, the screenwriter, has given them real characters to play, too. Their trials and humiliations are funny because even when the situation is contrived, the boys are fundamentally themselves: innocent, needy and--except for Stifler--irresistible.

The girls, too, are well defined, especially Mena Suvari as the good girl (a literal choir girl) who beguiles Chris Klein. Alyson Hannigan, best known as Buffy the Vampire Slayer's sidekick Willow, totally owns her character, a "band geek" whose every statement begins, "This one time? At band camp?" As in all movies of this genre, adults are bit players. However, Eugene Levy as the earnest dad trying to shepherd his son through the pitfalls of adolescence nearly steals the show. His smarmy, squirm-inducing counsel, like everything else in this movie, may be hard to take, but there's a very good heart lying beneath it.

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