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There comes a point in every DVD reviewer’s life where he or she takes it upon themselves to review a disc that redefines the word ‘crud’. Unfortunately for me, that came about twelve months ago with Christmas with the Kranks, which, while a wholly unpleasant exercise, sticks in my memory much more so than the discs, good or average, that I’ve reviewed since.

American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile
And so it comes to pass, that I find myself in possession of American Pie: The Naked Mile, a film that has all the warning signs of being a true stinker. Unfortunately, with the same morbid curiosity that led me to watch Home Alone 4 and Teen Wolf Too, I’m unable to resist yet another sequel that really shouldn’t have happened…

Feature


Ninety minutes later and, against my best judgment, I’m ashamed to say that I didn't detest American Pie: The Naked Mile quite as much as I expected. Now don’t get the wrong idea, it’s not a good movie, but it’s not that awful either. Maybe because, despite all the lame jokes, the filmmakers understand what made the original movies work: namely gross-out comedy and immature characters that, through a series of increasingly contrived situations, eventually learn lessons about ‘love and stuff’.

This time around, our protagonist is Erik Stifler; a rather clumsy teen who carries the burden of being related to the raucous antiheroes from the previous Pie movies. Currently in a loving, but not sexual, relationship with his girlfriend Tracy, Erik is persuaded by his friends to take a trip to a nearby university and participate in a nude Fun Run named ‘The Naked Mile’. Upon learning this, Tracy realises that Erik has some wild oats to sow and decides to give him a ‘free pass’ for the weekend. In other words, he can get up to as much mischief as he wants and it wont affect their relationship. Will Erik use this as an excuse to rid himself of his virginity? You'll have to watch the movie to... well, you're not actually that bothered, are you?

Since a fairly large proportion of The Naked Mile's target audience is here for one thing and one thing only, I can reveal that this movie has lots and lots of nudity; far more than any other instalment in this franchise.

American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile
So, while a ridiculously large amount of readers desert this review half-way through to surf to their nearest online store, I'll continue by covering a few more important aspects. Is the film funny? Is the acting good? Should there be an American Pie 6? The answer to all of these questions is a predictable ‘Not on your nelly, sunshine’.

The Naked Mile is unquestionably better than its predecessor in this never-ending franchise (the horrendous Band Camp), mainly because the story is better and we don't have to put up with someone doing a bad impression of Sean William Scott for ninety minutes. What's more, the risqué content is far stronger and, since that's what these films are really all about, that can only be a good thing. Aside from the aforementioned nudity, there's a lot of—and I use this term loosely—‘jokes’ that really do challenge the barriers of bad taste. One sequence at the beginning of the film is arguably the sickest gross-out moment of any teen movie.  

Please don't take that as incentive to seek out this disc though; The Naked Mile is still a pretty limp excuse for a film, playing out far too often like a fourteen year boy's wish-fulfilment. While the original trilogy was not ‘high-art', each of the films did at least possess genuine moments of sincerity and restraint amongst all the farting and swearing. The Naked Mile goes through the same motions, but the effect is nowhere near as satisfying.

Eugene Levy pops up for three scenes but the writers fail to find anything even remotely amusing for him to do. Instead, his dialogue consists of mentioning the events of the previous movies and, in the process, inadvertently reminding us that the central love-story is far too reminiscent of the second film in the series. Incidentally, I hope he was paid a lot for his limited appearance as further appearances in this kind of movie will do more harm than good to his career.

Since these kinds of movies are largely critic-proof, it seems a little redundant to analyse this film too closely. At times hopelessly desperate (a baffling subplot involving 'little people' being proof of that) and frequently unoriginal, one fears that it will still find its way to far too many DVD shelves across the land.

American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile

Video


The Naked Mile is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and it's a pretty reasonable picture with colours contrasted well. That said, clarity is lacking a little with minimal sharpness in numerous scenes throughout the runtime. This is particularly noticeable in a painfully unfunny and overlong sequence where our ‘heroes’ play American Football with a rival fraternity.  

Audio


Despite being saddled with a 5.1 Dolby Digital track, you'd be forgiven for thinking that this is actually 2.0 Stereo as your speakers will get a pretty laid back workout with this disc. Like the picture quality, this is passable without being outstanding. Dialogue is clear and the soundtrack is well presented but there's little here to get excited about.

Extras


Do interactive menus count? No, go away.

American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile

Overall


American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile is not a good film, but that's not going to surprise anyone. What is slightly surprising is that Universal has not seen fit to beef up this limp release with a solitary extra. Avoid this disc and maybe, just maybe, they'll stop making these movies.


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