American Pie Presents: The Book of Love (UK - DVD R2)
Our Marcus remembers when sticking your dick in a pie used to be funny...
The ongoing American Pie saga continues with American Pie: The Book of Love (unbelievably this is the seventh instalment of the ‘what crazy/embarrassing new thing can the lead character do to his dick?’) and yet again sees a new generation of East Great Falls High school boys trying to leave their virginity behind them and get with some ladies.
Now, I am totally unashamed when admitting that I’d consider myself a pretty big fan of the first two American Pie movies. Hell, I’d go as far as saying the third was okay for the most part, even if the pastry and main ingredients of what made this franchise enjoyable had gotten a little stale by then. The cast were totally able to sell the situations and gags and like it or not those early Pie movies had a cultural impact that has managed to hang around (M.I.L.F., Pale Ale, fucking a pie, and of course anything Stifler ever said and did has had infinite failed copying attempts—including one in this new movie). I opted out of the first three direct-to-DVD sequels with the presumption that they would be poor imitations of the first batch of movies and now venturing into The Book of Love, I can whole heartedly say that my suspicions that these would stink have been confirmed.
On the surface, all the slices that make up an American Pie are present. There are friends wanting to lose their virginity, there’s a Stifler (though I’m not sure of the family relation to the one true version), there’s lots of nudity, there’s comedy made out of sexual situations, and of course there are character embarrassments posted on the internet for all of their friends to see and ridicule.
Sadly this is all cobbled together in an almost sketch comedy show format, with scenes only really being about getting its one laugh out and when its achieves its goal it moves along to another scene to start a whole new gag. This is all thinly held together with the plot where our group of friends are trying out bits from the original movie's Sex Bible and even meeting up with Jim’s dad Mr. Levenstein played as always by Eugene Levy (does he owe someone a life debt at Universal? - and don’t even get me started on how the hell Rosanna Arquette got dragged into this as well).
There are plenty more references to the older movies (just to remind us of the glory days) but pretty much none of this movie works. It always has that TV show fake sentiment, the dirtier laughs always come out of characters that are so one dimensional that I couldn’t care less if they’re funny and after the umpteenth scrubs style daydream from Mr 'only cast because he looks a bit like Johah Hill', Brandon Hardesty (who plays a character called Lube) even the infinite amount of perky breasts bouncing about gets dull (okay, maybe not completely).
This actually wouldn’t be a bad example of a transfer if this was a TV show and not a movie. The lighting here and the limited budget (the majority of which must have gone to Eugene Levy) are constantly on show and even if bold colours, such as the bright red, blues and yellows make for quite an impressive bright look to the overall transfer, they’re not enough to hide the obvious direct-to-DVD stylings.
Credit where credit's due, the image is pretty much grain free, fairly sharp (for standard def anyway) and never does anything to offend... or indeed, impress.
Once again the limitations are here for all to see. Pretty much every sound resides in the front speakers. The almost funny scene at ‘Monique’s’ where a door opens in the rears and the odd pleasurable moan comes from the other rooms (that description sounds ruder within an American Pie review than I intended) treats us to a little more audio excitement and the tacked on scene at the end with the guys on a ski lift fills the surrounds with the creaking of cables and gears making things a bit more active as well. Essentially, there is nothing to sell this as an impressive track or even an average one. Even the music on the soundtrack feels confined and begging for a bit more space to breathe.
Thankfully there are no extras. Not even one on why Brit actress Louisa Lytton (better known in Eastenders, The Bill and Lads’ mags) got to be in the seventh American Pie movie.
Move along, there’s nothing to see here. Unless of course you’re only after a movie made up of regular amounts of breasts, jokes that rarely work, and cameos from the likes of K-Fed and the Screech. The whole thing just stinks of desperation mixed with the inability to grasp why the originals worked so well and frankly it just devalues the currency that American Pie earned back at the end of the last decade. Oh, and just to confirm, I won’t be venturing into the other three installments I missed.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 7th December 2009
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Stereo 2.0 Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish
Easter Egg: No
Director: John Putch
Cast: Eugene Levy, Bug Hall, Kevin M. Horton, Brandon Hardesty
Length: 93 minutes
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