Dir: JB Rogers. US. 2001. 105 mins.
The fine balance between sweetness and grossness achieved in American Pie is tipped entirely in favour of the latter in this disappointing sequel - the ultimate exercise in oversexed frat boy preening which will disgust as many as it delights. Universal Pictures, already on a summer high after The Mummy and Jurassic Park sequels, should continue to rake in the dough with this feature squarely hitting the teenage male audience it is designed for. However, non teen-boy audiences who enjoyed the first film will find this sequel hard-to-stomach, since it jettisons the female perspective entirely and as a result forfeits its charm. Instead it is replaced by a brand of fnar-fnar humour which makes the Farrelly Brothers look like Merchant Ivory. Women who object to being referred to as "pussy" might want to give it a miss.
In foreign territories such as Germany, where the original was a runaway hit, that success should be repeated, although again not to the same levels. This time, of course, Universal has held on to all international rights, no doubt regretting having ceded the original to Summit Entertainment.
The trailer, which has played well in US theatres through the summer, is an edit of the film's pre-credit sequence. The sexually hapless Jim (Biggs) and a female acquaintance are attempting to have an afternoon of casual sex to celebrate the end of their first year of college. Just as Jim is getting into his stride, in walks Jim's Dad (Levy), who has come to pick up his son for the summer vacation. Jim's Dad is promptly followed by his mom and her parents, making for the first humiliation of the film for poor old Jim.
Back in smalltown Michigan, Jim is reunited with his high school buddies from American Pie. There's the romantic football star Oz (Klein) who is still dating the love of his life (Suvari). There's the rich jock Stifler (Seann William Scott) who is hungrier for sex than ever and the enigmatic Finch (Kaye Thomas) who is still obssessing about Stifler's mom (Jennifer Coolidge). Geeky Sherman (Chris Owen) is still a geek, and thoughtful Kevin (Nicholas) has split up with Vicky (Reid) but the two are trying to be friends. Sexy east European Nadia (Elizabeth), pictured here, is travelling the country but still keeps in touch with Jim. As for Michelle (Hannigan), Jim's first sexual conquest, she is still playing with her flute. Nothing much has changed.
In an attempt to recapture the good times of high school, the guys take a beach house for the summer by Lake Michigan and pursue girls. The plot is thin, to say the least. It consists of Jim enlisting the help of Michelle - spending the summer at a nearby band camp - to improve his inept sexual technique, so that he will be ready for an end-of-summer visit from Nadia.
Otherwise it's just one unsophisticated setpiece after the other - from the trumpet-up-the-ass scene to one where the guy pisses off a balcony into Stifler's mouth (he thinks it's champagne) to the one where the two lesbians persuade the guys to kiss each other to the one where Jim uses superglue instead of lubricant. And so on.
The only hint of tenderness in the whole exercise is the burgeoning relationship between Biggs and Hannigan, who are both appealing comic performers. Their scenes together are all that is left of the warm-hearted spirit of the first film; the rest smacks of director JB Rogers' last feature Say It Isn't So.
Prod cos: Zide/Perry Productions, Liveplanet
US dist: Universal Pictures
Int'l dist: Universal/UIP
Exec prods: Adam Herz, Paul Weitz, Chris Weitz
Prods: Warren Zide, Craig Perry, Chris Moore
Scr: Adam Herz, from a story by David H Steinberg & Adam Herz
Cinematography: Mark Irwin.
Prod des: Richard Toyon
Eds: Larry Madaras, Stuart Pappe
Mus: David Lawrence.
Main cast: Jason Biggs, Shannon Elizabeth, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Seann William Scott, Mena Suvari, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Eugene Levy