It’s The American Way

The ‘American Pie’ series unleashes its first mainstream film since 2003. What are the expectations for the goofballs who once made a pact to lose their virginity by Prom?




A franchise once left for dead (like straight-to-DVD dead) returns to the big screen on Friday for a ton of laughs.

Hopefully.

The “American Pie” franchise rises from its apparent grave to capture the spirit of youth, beer parties, dick jokes, epic Shannon Elizabeth nudity and pie fornication.

Hopefully.

I’m pulling for this film. But it’s tough to replicate the lightning-in-a-bottle effect the first “Pie” baked. Like life, we get older, and this film will be no different.

Like Warm Apple Pie

All of the films in the “American Pie” franchise:

“American Pie” (1999)

“American Pie 2” (2001)

“American Wedding” (2003)

“American Pie Presents: Band Camp” (2005)

“American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile” (2006)

“American Pie Presents: Beta House” (2007)

“American Pie Presents: The Book of Love” (2009)

“American Reunion” (2012)

The initial film came out in 1999. That is ancient in today’s fast paced, social media driven world. Back then, Y2K was on everyone’s minds. Would our computers, VCRs, DVD players, airplanes, anything electronic, ever work after midnight in 2000?

Back then there was no 9/11, no Facebook (hell, there wasn’t even MySpace), no Twitter, no iPods, no Blu-ray, no Netflix, no gaming on the Internet. Everybody didn’t have a cell phone. Marvel Comics movies weren’t cash cows every summer.

It was a simpler time.

Which is why “American Pie” worked. It was shocking to see Jim’s buttocks humping away at that Costco pie. It was big fun watching those four lovable losers try to lose their virginity. It was thrilling to watch Shannon Elizabeth strip.

And Stifler. Without this loose cannon, the film and franchise simply falls flat. Stifler is essential. And without his mom, “Shitbreak” (Finch) never gets laid.

Two more mainstream sequels emerged, both of them worthy successors, but you can’t top the original. It’s a challenge to even equal the first movie.

But the sequels did get watered down. Some of the stars from the first “Pie” didn’t think the new pastries could cure a viewer’s sweet tooth.

Mena Suvari thought she was hot shit. Yeah, she was in “American Beauty,” a superb film that won an Oscar for Best Picture. But she didn’t have the same clout as Kevin Spacey, the Oscar winner for Best Actor. That guy was a shot caller.

Suvari thought she was too good, half-assing a role in “American Pie 2” and not even appearing in “American Wedding.”

Same thing for Chris Klein. He played an important role in the second “Pie” film, but was noticeably absent from the third. I thought his character, Oz, was a little bitch anyway. Stifler always clowned him for that.

Then again, Stifler clowned everybody.

Sean William Scott (Stifler) played it cool, shining in every mainstream “Pie” movie. Scott has profited the most from this franchise, nabbing starring or co-starring roles in “The Rundown” (co-starring the Rock), “The Dukes of Hazzard” (co-starring Johnny Knoxville) and “Role Models” (co-starring Paul Rudd). Scott has done plenty of others, but his success stems from the work he put into the “Pie” franchise.

“American Pie” became a victim of its own success by spawning shitty direct-to-DVD sequels. “American Wedding” was the last real production and that came out in 2003. Since then, four “American Pie Presents:” stinkers have hit the store shelves.

Unfortunately, I saw the first two; I thought the “Pie” name would carry weight. I guess having Jim’s Dad (Eugene Levy, that guy will do any movie) in every single “Pie” film is the only source of continuity.

I, along with the legion of other “American Pie” fans, am ready for change. Sure, it’s been 13 years since lightning has struck.

But this is Hollywood, you can be a star overnight. That’s exactly what screenwriter Adam Herz became when he shopped his “Untitled Teenage Sex Comedy That Can Be Made For Under $10 Million That Most Readers Will Probably Hate But I Think You Will Love” script. Herz went from doing production assistant jobs to selling what would be “American Pie” for $650,000.

Just like one can be a star overnight, all it takes is one good performance to resurrect oneself.

I try to stay away from knowing details of films. I want to be surprised. I don’t know anything about “American Reunion.” I know it’s a high school reunion of sorts.

And like real life, the kick-ass days of partying with “pale ale,” picking up “The Bible” in the Fluid Dynamics section of the library, broadcasting hot girls stripping in your bedroom, watching lesbians kiss while you paint their house and shaving your pubes and tossing the excess hair on your wedding cake are over.

When your high school reunion comes around, most folks are domesticated, cleaning baby shit and career oriented.

If anyone can find a way to fuck around during their adult years, it’s the “American Pie” gang.

Hopefully.

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