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Universal Studios
Director: James B. Rodgers
Producer: Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz
Written by: David H. Steinberg and Adam Herz
Cast: Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Seann William Scott, Chris Klien, Mena Suvari, Tara Reid, Eugene Levy, Eddie Kaye Thomas

Rating: out of 5

There’s a wrong way and a right way to make a sequal. For some reason, most writers and directors tend to go about it the wrong way. They take all the things that were successful about the first movie and amp them up one hundred percent. If, say, the original was succesful for having some “gross-out” humor in a couple of scenes, the sequal will be stuffed full of it. It will fill every frame of every sequance, leaving the audience disgusted and wanting their money back. I am, of course, talking about the early-summer sequal SCARY MOVIE 2, a textbook case of how NOT to make a follow up to a successful film.

Fortunantly, we have here another film that shows us the right way to do things. AMERICAN PIE 2, while not a great movie by any stretch, is a fantastic example of how to make a sequal correctly. The formula is simple: Take the same characters, place them in different situations, and flesh them out; make them change from one movie to the next. In AMERICAN PIE 2, almost all of the characters interactions with one another feel fresh, as if the writers actually created new dialouge and scenes as opposed to rehashing stuff from the original. In fact, one of the things that bothered me about the movie is that because they did this so well, it’s really obvious when Chris Klien and Mena Suvari are given absolutley nothing to do. For some reason these two characters were left off in the wings. Oh sure, there on screen, but they might as well have been on the wallpaper in the background. It’s frustrating, because the interactions going on around them are so interesting, they grind the movie to a halt when they’re in the spotlight.

Thinking back on the movie as a whole, there are two people who really made it a complete picture for me. Jason Biggs and Alyson Hannigan steal the show, reprising their odd coupling from the first movie and making it into something much more than just a “one time at band camp…” joke. Biggs especially shines in this, making me wonder why he has sucked in every other movie he’s been in. Perhaps there’s something in the water on the AP2 set that makes him charming and funny, but whatever it is, I hope he can bottle it, because he really is a great comic lead in this. Giving fine support are Seann William Scott as irrepressable blowhard Stiffler and Eugene Levy as Biggs’ father. Levy was great in the first AMERICAN PIE and doesn’t dissapoint in this one either.

My only other major problem with the movie is their slight over use of expository dialouge in the first twenty minutes or so of the movie. I’m, of course, talking about lines like, “Well, here we are, freshmen in college about to go on summer vacation” or “Gee, I’m so glad we’re done with college and going back home with our friends.” Granted, to move a story along, sometimes you have to bite the bullett and put those in there, but it feels really clunky and probably could have been worked around with some savvy writing.

I have to say that, on the whole, had a really good time during the movie. It was fun and reminded me very much of the same feeling I had after seeing the original. It’s a silly comedy but for once, I was really pleased by it’s ending (not to spoil it, but the main character ends up with who he’s supoosed too). All in all, a pleasant summer romp that, while having no real substance, isn’t really supposed to.

—Clint Davis

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

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