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Movie Review

American Pie 2

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Directed by JB Rogers, starring Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, Eddie Kaye, Thomas, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Mena Suvari and Shannon Elizabeth.

For a generation who grew up in the 80s with the movie 'Porky's', 1999's 'American Pie' was a pure nostalgia trip, taking the gross out jokes that Hollywood forgot and making you remember those great do-or-die sorties to the video shop or mitches into the cinema to see the films you really shouldn't have been watching. Assembling a cast of relative unknowns, director brothers Chris and Paul Weitz made the surprise hit of the year, raking in over $100m and turning a new generation onto the charms of rites of passage humour mixed with bodily fluids. Now two years later we've got the follow-up, which re-unites all the original cast, but which is just as disappointing as the sequel to 'Porky's'.

The boys from part one may be at college now but little in their lives has really changed. Jim (Biggs) is still more interested in hitting the sack with Nadia (Elizabeth) than hitting the books, Oz (Klein) is still the likeable lummox in love with Heather (Suvari), Kevin (Nicholas) is still the boy with no good lines and a crush on Vicky (Reid), Finch (Thomas) is still the guru with an obsession with Stifler's mom, while Stifler (Scott) himself is still the funniest of the bunch by a mile. With the exams finished and the hormones in overdrive, the gang decamp for painting jobs at a lake resort area, all hoping they'll spend more time looking at bedroom ceilings than painting outside walls.

While the people behind 'American Pie 2' (six producers!) have pulled off some feat in reuniting the cast of the original, someone should have told director Rogers and writer Adam Herz that it's only worth getting everybody back together if you have something for them to do. Literally half the actors in this sequel (Klein, Reid, Suvari, Elizabeth) seem to be in the frame for continuity purposes and not to raise the gag quota. With so much standing around from so many, the energy of the original rarely appears and you come away thinking that Herz just used the leftovers from two years ago to fashion his script.

No-one was expecting 'AP2' to have anything approximating a well worked plot but the storyline is beyond flimsy, a series of sketches hanging together with a default pop punk soundtrack and the odd Hootie and the Blowfish style 'growing up is difficult - we play acoustic guitars' tender moment.

Granted there are two great gags – one involving Jim's crotch, a porn video and a tube of superglue and one where Stifler gets involved with two lesbians – but the film can't sustain your smiles and there are too many moments where cheesy teen drama get in the way of someone falling over with their trousers down. And while Biggs may get top billing, the real star of this one (and the reason to keep watching) is Scott's gurning Stifler. With dumbass grin and sexual bravado by the truckload Scott wins every scene and you have to wonder why the whole film didn't just focus on him rather than bringing in a load of pretty faces who keep their clothes on. If you were at a party you'd want to meet Stifler, as for the rest of them, you'd just smile politely on your way to the toilet.

'American Pie 2' will do the business (literally) but big fans of the first one will feel that there's something missing and they'll come away tasting soggy reheat, not this year's new improved recipe.

Harry Guerin

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