This file was generated 2002-06-09 04:23 GMT. This movie's information hasn't changed since 2002-03-31.
Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> March 2002 >> American Pie 2
In high school, we had these assemblies. We didn't have a whole-school public address system, so half the school would gather for twenty minutes once a week to hear all of the announcements. These were often dull affairs with self-conscious students fidgeting nervously and failing to project their voices in a room without microphones or amplification. A few times a year, I had an announcement to make. I had no popularity to lose, so I had fun with it. I would charge the stage, run around, flail my arms, and scream at the top of my lungs. "Give me a 'P'!" "Give me an 'A'!" "Give me a 'C'!" "What's that spell? Nothing!" Yes, I did all this in the name of the Performing Arts Committee. Dear reader, it would be hard to find a bigger band geek than me. So where was my Alyson Hannigan?
American Pie 2 is an earnest attempt to continue the exploits of everyone from American Pie. If the making-of footage is to be believed, the screenwriter and director and producer thought they were realistically extrapolating the summer-after-freshman-year experiences of Jim, Oz, Kev and Finch. Given the thin plotting of the first movie and the slapdash attempt at an interstitial story, making these kids too earnest about anything is a waste of time. Since the clinchers of the first movie were the raucously funny set pieces and the fantastically over-the-top performance by Jason Biggs, any amount of drama is too much. Kevin was the most sincere and least interesting of the characters in Pie, and he's doubly so in this one, often dragging the other three down in treacle-fests.
With so much attention paid to giving these characters real emotions, there mustn't have been any energy left over to give them interesting dialogue. Every line is a notch or two beneath the dangerously low intelligence of the first film. Stifler was already the most obnoxious character in the first film, but he's been pushed over the line into the land of the nonsensical in the second one. Even Jim's dad, one of the highlights of the first film, is taken to semi-coherent ranting in this one, and it's well beneath Eugene Levy's work in Best in Show or Waiting for Guffman. The cast members who emerge no worse for wear are the ones with the least screen time.
So much of this would be easy to forgive if Pie 2 had any humorous moments that held up well against the first film. American Pie showed a few instances of well-constructed comedy with appropriate tension ratcheting culminating with laughs on top of laughs. It wasn't on the level of There's Something About Mary, but it wasn't bad. Pie 2 does not show the same finesse, and often falls back on disappointing resolutions to its zany setups. Moments meant to echo the good stuff in the first one overwhelmingly fall flat, like the inclusion of the radios in the orientation-bending house sequence. When the trucker made a remark about transvestites, I was sure it was foreshadowing for a joke that might not pay off for a while, but the script isn't nearly that ambitious.
Some people are concerned about inappropriate content in their movies. For some, it's drugs. For others, it's animal abuse. For me, it's needles and mistreatment of musical instruments. As a former trumpet player, I feel compelled to warn all brass players that there are some disturbing scenes of instrument abuse in American Pie 2. You may want to close your eyes any time a brass instrument and Jim are in close proximity.