There is definitely a hint of nostalgia associated with watching this movie. American Pie came out when I was in year 12 and was the first teen gross out comedy in several years. It was a big hit with people my age, and for good reason. It is hilarious and still holds up 15 years later.
This really is an ensemble cast; everybody has a role to play. There are 8-10 characters, and most of them have something to do throughout the film. None of them are wasted. The stand out is Seann William Scott, he steals nearly every scene he’s in as the uber jock Steve Stifler. He has some great one liners and it’s no surprise he was one of the few cast members of this film to have success away from the American Pie franchise. The other stand out is Alyson Hannigan as Michelle the band geek. Not coincidently, she is the only other cast member to still be working regularly today.
The plot of American Pie is really simple, four friends make a pact to lose their virginity by senior prom. They help each other out to achieve this goal any way they can. It sounds crude, but these four guys have enough charm that you’re along for the ride and really hope they get what they want. The film chronicles the many ups and downs of teenage boys and their attempts to get laid. It’s funny, but also has a certain charm that many of the sequels failed to capture.
I remember the first time I watched American Pie. I was home from college, and walked in to find my parents and uncle cracking up in the living room. My dad asked me if I’d ever seen the movie, to which I replied that I hadn’t. “Oh, you have to watch it. It just started,” replied my mom. So I sat down, and proceeded to watch Jason Biggs hump an apple pie.
I kept watching, all the while thinking, “I don’t think I’m ready to watch something like this with my parents.” Why did I stay? Because American Pie was four years old at the time, and I was tired of people being shocked that I hadn’t seen it.
Honestly, I don’t think I was missing much at the time. Yeah, I thought it was funny, but high school wasn’t far enough in my rear view mirror to feel nostalgic about. Actually, I still don’t feel that nostalgic, but I can now laugh at the utter absurdity of the teenage years. When nothing is more important than fitting in, having a date to prom, or insuring your romantic relationship lasts beyond graduation.
American Pie touches on all of these themes, with an added dose of gross out humor. In fact, the main reason why I like-but-don’t-love this movie is because a hefty dose of it is just so over-the-top ridiculous. (Sorry guys, but women don’t just get naked in a near stranger’s bedroom and start masturbating. And you will never have a shot with your friend’s hot mom.)
Still, it’s pretty funny, and the cast is a who’s who of late 90s talent. Actually, it’s even funnier that John Cho is now the most successful member of the cast, given that his most memorable scene here involves the coining of the acronym “MILF” and lasts all of two minutes. Strange how fame works.