The Rites of Prommage
American Pie
Review by Ross Anthony

I took my 17 year old nephew to this flick. (More on that later.)

"Divided we're flawed and weak, but united we ensure our sexual destinies" -- or something like that. Four senior male buddies make a pact to lose their respective virginities by the last of their high school days (i.e. prom night).

It must be impossible to make a teen movie that doesn't somehow wind up at the prom. There's some huge film-magnet in the punch bowl or something. But that's forgivable, because this film is bold, funny, charming, uncomfortably honest at times, and seldom (if ever) boring. The characters are likable, roughly believable (or obvious caricatures) and played by apt actors. "American Pie" is well paced. In fact, as the end approaches, you'll want it delayed because you'll be enjoying the movie that much. Ultimately, the peak of a film is important and fulfilling; but it's what leads up to the ending that makes it so. (Could that be why they call it the climax?)

What about all this talk of sex? Inevitably, parents are going to claim that this movie condones teenage copulation. And, you know what? It actually may. However, it's also likely that actual teenagers are actually having sex. This, despite the fact that I was not one of them. And while I think teens will enjoy this movie, I don't condone teen intercourse. Unless the teens are paying their own rent or something. Still "American Pie" bent over backwards to encourage the usage of condoms -- so that is to its credit.

But enough about what I think. My nephew says parents don't need to get all uppity about how movies make teens feel or act. "There's bound to be some film next week that has the opposite message. Hey, they're just movies after all. People are going to do what their going to do ... regardless." He enjoyed the film.

We went on a Monday night at 10:10 or something -- the show sold out, filling the theater with teens who laughed a lot (me too). There were times I couldn't even hear the response line to a good wisecrack.

(A few days prior, my nephew attempted to see this film with some of his 16 year old buddies. When the attendant denied them access based on the rating, my nephew remarked, "These (pointing at his buddies) are exactly the people they made the movie for -- I can't believe you won't let them in!")

Starring Jason Biggs, Shannon Elizabeth, Alyson Hannign.
Directed by Paul Weitz.
Screenplay by Adam Herz.
Produced by Warren Zide, Craig Perry, Chris Moore, Chris Weitz at Universal.
Rated R.


Copyright © 1999 Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:21:21 PDT