American Pie (1999)
Main cast: Jason Biggs (Jim), Alysson Hannigan (Michelle), Chris Klein (Oz), Mena Suvari (Heather), Eddie Kaye Thomas (Finch), Thomas Ian Nicholas (Kevin), Tara Reid (Vicky), and a bunch of actors pretending to be high school kids
Director: Paul Weitz

Ladies and gentlemen, meet four losers eager to lose their virginity by graduation day. There's an Adam Sandler-lookalike and your awkward boy next door Jim, whose sexual misadventures involves apple pies and a live internet peek-a-boo show (don't ask). There's Oz, the token jock who, inexplicably, can't score. No wait, that's explicably - he exudes the charms of a crocodile doing Madam Butterfly. There's Finch, a socially awkward nerd. And rounding up the foursome is Kevin who can't get his girlfriend Vicky to move past foreplay.

These four made a pact to do it by Prom. So Kevin studies a sex manual to break down Vicky's defenses when all she wants is the three magic words. I love you, dummy. Oz joins the choir to tap the unmined riches, so to speak, and soon gets all starry eyed by Heather, his duet partner. Finch pays a girl to spread rumors about his sexual prowess and size. And Jim... well, there's the apple pie.

Now, this movie is filled with disgusting gags. If There's Something About Mary turned seminal fluids into hair gel, this one suggests a new use for it as an alcohol-additive. There's a really cringe-inducing - and hysterical - misadventure of Jim and an exchange student and the internet.

Yet, for all its attempted sophisticated crudity - a paradox if there's such thing - American Pie is disappointingly toothless. Apart for Jim Biggs who has to be saluted for doing all those humiliating scenes of caught-in-the-acts, the other elements of AP ultimately boils down to standard Hollywood teen morality: Good girls are virginal, bad girls give out; jocks are all after the same thing, nerds win ultimately (and they are better in bed too!) And the fact that after all the initial male macho bravado, the love bug has to bite them.

Make no mistake, AP is not TSAM. TSAM, despite its disgustingly funny gags, is surprisingly romantic, thanks to Ben Stiller's earnestness and Cameron Diaz's ditziness. AP's attempts at romanticism between Oz and Heather and Kevin and Vicky fall flat, ending up more juvenile and superficial than that in TSAM.

So I can't say I really like AP, although I laughed out loud during Jim's many misadventures. But you know what? I like the fact that this movie is, whether wittingly or not, not at all misogynist like it is touted to be. If anyone is made a fool, it's the guys. The girls sit there, aloof, watching with a sneer on their lips as the guys do stupid things and humiliate themselves for just one little touch. I doubt the jocks this movie is aimed at would appreciate that.

Rating: 71

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