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American Pie is the 1999 surprise smash hit comedy by director Paul Weitz. When American Pie was released in America it quickly gained recognition and was considered a 90's version of the saucy film Porky's. While not being as rude as Porky's it certainly has an adult theme!

American Pie: Unrated
Movie
American Pie centres around a high school in America and its students who are preparing to get laid on prom night. This film can be split into many different relationships. Jim played by Jason Biggs (Loser) is one of the main characters and his inexperience with women leads him to experiment with warm baked goods. If you have ever wondered why this film has its title then lets just say that you will never look at an apple pie with a straight face again. Just as well that I don't like them! Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) has slightly more luck with women than Jim. Kevin has a steady girlfriend called Vicky (Tara Reid) but the couple haven't gone all the way yet. Kevin is keen but Vicky wants a little more security. Next up is Oz (Chris Kline) who is tired of common women and is looking for a more romantic relationship. Oz gets teased by his friends but he joins the school choir with the aim of impressing Heather (Mena Suvari). Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) tries different alternatives for finding girls. Finch pays Jessica (Natasha Lyonne) to spread the word about him. Finch is not your average teenager, which shows in funny circumstances at the end of the film. Other characters worth mentioning are Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth) who is an exchange student. Also playing an important part in the movie is Michelle who is considered a band geek who surprises people with some of the lines she comes out with.

American Pie is like a breath of fresh air compared to the recent high school based comedies. While it can be quite gross at times, it is very clever. Some of the situations that Jim in particular gets involved in are well thought out and very funny. The introduction of Jim's dad (Eugene Levy) as a hip father is one of the highlights of the film. Jim's dad always seems to appear at the most inappropriate moments to embarrass Jim. He dad is also quite interested in teaching Jim about the ways of the world which adds a lot of humour to the film. Like "There's Something About Mary", American Pie is on of the few recent comedies that is funny throughout. From the opening "Illegal Channels" scenes to the climatic Prom, American Pie delivers. One way of judging a comedy is also by how funny it is when watched a few times. Well American Pie stands up to that test, as it is still funny after repeated viewing.

American Pie: Unrated
The actors in American Pie are all relative newcomers and they do an excellent job. There are no weak links but particular mention has to be given to Jason Biggs and Shannon Elizabeth. Jason Biggs is probably the star of the film. Some of the things he has to do in the movie are quite embarrassing but he gets stuck in (literally!) and actually seems to enjoy himself. This is the sort of film, which needs the actors to get involved with their characters, or some of the comical moments would not work. Biggs does an excellent job. The same can be said for Shannon Elizabeth. She has a barer role to play in one particular which she deserves credit for!

Pitched against huge blockbusters like The Phantom Menace and Austin Powers 2, American Pie deservedly gained praise from the critics and audiences, If you are after a no holds barred comedy then you could do a lot worse then watching American Pie. Running at 96 minutes American Pie leaves you wanting more and I am glad to report that a sequel is due for release later this year. If it is anything like the prequel then we are in for another classic comedy.

Video
The overall picture quality of this disc is generally excellent. The DVD is an anamorphic widescreen presentation. The colours are vibrant but at certain times (especially at the beginning) the picture seems a little grainy. Some of the scenes are also a little too dark at times. I cannot remember them being so dark at the cinema. That is only a trivial complaint though as the overall transfer is first class.

The menu system is quite impressive but simplistic at the same time. The main menu shows Jim and Nadia in their intimate scene together. Features are easy to find and are well labelled so that there is no ambiguity when selecting an option.

American Pie: Unrated
Audio
This disc offers Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, which is adequate for this type of film. American Pie is not a loud film so better sound quality (DTS) is not really missed. The soundtrack seems to make good use of the surround sound speakers but to be truthful there is not much need for it. Also included is a French Dolby 2.0 soundtrack but I have not listened to that. As mentioned above the audio can be described as adequate. It doesn't really stand out but then again I cannot really complain about it.

Extras
Before I start reviewing the extras I have to mention that the version of American Pie that I am reviewing is the unrated version, which has extra footage, which was not in the cinema release. The extra footage seems to be more of the Pie scene (worth watching!) and little bit more about the secret book. The DVD box also says that there is more of Nadia but I cannot remember seeing any more then was included in the cinema release.

At first site you would think that American Pie has a hat full of extras but on closer inspections only a few of them are actually worth repeated viewing. First off is the Spotlight on Location feature. This is a 15+ minute "documentary" which has interviews with the crew and cast. I think that this extra must have been filmed for the DVD release as it has some quotes and scenes that would not really be shown on TV. There are a few words from each of the actors during this feature where they talk about making the film and also about experiences they had during high school. I enjoyed watching this and it is a worthwhile addition to the disc.

Outtakes are also included on the disc. Some of them are very funny and it shows that the actors had a good time making this film. Particular outtakes worth watching include the Pie scene and scenes involving Michelle (the band geek). The only problems with these outtakes are that they are in rough format and only run for about 5 minutes.

Also contained on the disc is a commentary from several of the crew and cast of the movie. The commentary is one of the best that I have heard. It is funny and the speakers give a detailed description about aspects of the movie. The commentators seems to be having a great time and are always making jokes. Very funny to listen too. If I was to complain about any aspect of the commentary it would have to be that there are no women involved. It would have been nice to have a woman’s point of view. Also there are quite a few commentators and it is sometimes difficult to understand who is actually talking.

Other extras on the disc are Classic Quotes, Music Highlights, Production Notes, Trailer and a Universal Records soundtrack. All these sound very interesting but fail to offer anything vaguely interesting. The trailer is good but the classic quotes and Music Highlights are just another way to access certain scenes from the movie. The Universal Records soundtrack is also a waste of time as all it is an advert for the soundtrack and a music video from the soundtrack.

Overall this is a good DVD, which complements a superb movie. The picture and sound is good which added to the extras on the disc makes this a worthy addition to everyone’s DVD collection. American Pie is one of my all time comedy movies. If you want a film, which will have you laughing from start to finish then American Pie is the film for you. I am just glad that my High School days were not like that!


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