American Pie - C+
Viewed July 12, 1999 at Union Square

For all the talk about American Pie being the descendant of Porky's, its spirit is far more in tune with the recent rash of teen comedies like Ten Things I Hate About You or She's All That, sharing their sunny good nature, appealing cast (Is it just me, or are there a lot of fine young actors in their early 20s/late teens these days?), and creaky, ancient plotting. The only spice it adds is raunchiness and an overreliance on shock value for humor. I adore Alyson Hannigan, but her geeky flutist here is a one-joke character, created solely to utter one line.[1] American Pie isn't helped by the clumsiest and most artless direction I've seen in a Hollywood film in ages; Kevin Smith would have made a more visually interesting movie. The only time the film really works is the 90s Jennicam twist it performs on that de rigeur element of 80s teen sex comedies: our oversexed heroes engaging in voyeurism. It's a long but perfectly paced scene that becomes fascinating halfway through, when the watcher becomes the watchee and climaxes in a painfully funny moment of sexual humilation. Special note must be also made of Eddie Kaye Thomas' Finch, played as an oddball neurotic who apparently wandered off the set of Rushmore.

[1]And the combination of kinky sexual frisson w/r/t the lovely Ms. Hannigan was more than amply provided this year by the Buffy episode "Doppelgangerland".