tek's rating: meh and a half

American Pie (R/unrated)
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streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; iTunes; Movies Anywhere; Peacock; Vudu; YouTube

When I first saw this movie, I would have rated it much higher than I did upon watching it for a second time on DVD in 2022. I originally saw it in a theater in 1999 with my then-girlfriend and a friend of hers, and we all laughed and laughed. I didn't find it nearly as funny this time, though some bits were still kind of funny. I should say the DVD was unrated, but most of the streaming sites I've linked to above are the theatrical version (the unrated version is also available on all the sites). I happened to come across a page that listed the differences between the two versions, but most of them weren't things I noticed when watching the DVD (after all, it's been over 20 years since I last saw it). But there were also some differences I did notice that weren't listed on the site, which I'm sure wouldn't have altered the rating. But I prefer the way I originally remember the film. Not that that would change my own current rating, either. I'm more prudish now than I used to be, but also probably more mature, which makes the movie seem more immature, and at times offensive.

It's mainly about four friends who make a pact to lose their virginity before high school ends. They include Jim (Jason Biggs), Oz, Kevin, and Finch. We also see a bit of Jim's dad (Eugene Levy), who awkwardly tries to give advice to Jim. Kevin has a girlfriend named Vicky (Tara Reid), who tells him she loves him, but he's reluctant to say it back, because he wants to be sure when he says it that he truly means it. Which I think is rather nice. But they do have some relationship troubles after something he says that isn't nice. None of the other characters have girlfriends at the start of the film, but Oz joins his school choir and becomes close to a fellow singer named Heather (Mena Suvari). Jim nearly has sex with a foreign exchange student named Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth), but that doesn't turn out so well for him. I also need to say that he live-streamed her stripping in his bedroom without her knowledge or consent, which probably is and absolutely should be a crime (though I'm not sure if it was in 1999, because back then the internet was too new for the police to have much of a clue about cyber crimes). In any event, it was very wrong, and I definitely hold it against him, and it majorly detracted from my ability to enjoy the movie. (But at least he got his comeuppance on that account, in a way I won't spoil.) There's also a point in the film where Jim does something with a pie, which kind of gives the movie its title. As for Finch, he pays a girl named Jessica (Natasha Lyonne) to start rumors about him that would make lots of girls want to go out with him. (I'd say Jessica is probably the coolest character in the movie, or more accurately the only remotely cool character.) One of those rumors is that Finch had an affair with the mother of a guy named Stifler (Seann William Scott), who often throws parties at his house. But we don't actually see Stifler's mom (Jennifer Coolidge) until much later in the film. I mean, aside from a portrait of her, which a couple of guys obsess over and use the term MILF to describe her. (I'm sure the term existed before this movie, but the movie definitely popularized it. Incidentally, the guy who introduced the term was played by John Cho.) Eventually, Jim asks out a dorky member of the school's band named Michelle (Alyson Hannigan). I've always found her to be the funniest character in the movie. The climax of the film takes place at prom and then Stifler's afterparty.

Beyond that I don't want to spoil any details. Do all (or any) of the guys lose their virginity? I won't tell. I suppose I could say there's a lot of cool music in the movie. And um... I dunno, I just generally found the premise of the movie off-putting. It's hard for me to really like any of the characters, though I guess they're not entirely terrible. At least Oz and Kevin turn out to be sort of okay. I still can't forgive Jim for the webcam thing, though. But the movie is probably funnier than I give it credit for. And I don't know what else to say.

There have been three theatrical sequels and some other direct-to-video movies in the franchise. I saw the second movie on TV sometime in the early 2000s, but I don't remember much about it except that I didn't care for it. And I've never seen any of the other movies, nor do I have any great desire to do so. (I kind of feel like I might check out the third movie someday. But probably not.)

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