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American Pie: Collector's Edition

Review Written by: Will Penley
Film: B+
Video/Audio/Extras: A/A/B+

Directed by: Paul Weitz
Written by: Adam Herz
Produced by: Chris Moore, Craig Perry, Chris Weitz and Warren Zide
Starring: Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Shannon Elizabeth, Alyson Hannigan
Buy it!, Buy it, rent it or skip it: Buy it

"Well, they're safer than a tube sock."

Every couple of months nowadays, there's a new sex comedy playing at the multiplexes. The sex comedy was a hot genre in the '80s and it was brought back to popularity at the end of the '90s with American Pie. With a young cast and raunchy subject matter, American Pie went on to become one of the highest-grossing movies of 1999 and it even spawned two sequels (three if you count the direct-to-video Band Camp). Adam Herz's very original screenplay is smart, sweet and hilarious, making for one of the best comedies in recent years. The only way to make it better would be if the great Quentin Tarantino wrote it...and let's face it, we all would like to see the Tarantino version of American Pie.

Prom night is coming up soon at East Great Falls High, and Jim (Jason Biggs), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Oz (Chris Klein) and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) are about to graduate. Though they couldn't be more excited about it, they fear that the worst will happen -- that they'll go to college as virgins. So, fueled by the upcoming event and the constant mocking of Steve Stifler (Seann William Scott), the four of them make a pact to lose their virginity by prom night. All of them have ideas of how they will achieve this. Jim wants to get it on with Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth), the Czechoslovakian exchange student who has taken a liking to him, Oz forms a bond with shy choir girl Heather (Mena Suvari), Kevin begs his girlfriend Vicky (Tara Reid) to finally go past third base and Finch has another girl, Jessica (Natasha Lyonne), start a rumor saying that he is a real stud in bed. Will these four finally get lucky?

American Pie is a film I've always held close to my heart. I've fallen in love with the characters over the course of the series and I would gladly go back for a fourth helping of Pie (a real one, not that charlatan Band Camp). A solid "B+" for the film. Universal put together a great DVD for American Pie and it excels in every area. The anamorphic widescreen transfer really shines with next to no grain in the print and all colors very vibrant. The Dolby 5.1 audio track serves the film well with all the dialogue and countless songs to be heard very well. An "A" for both video and audio.

There's a huge amount of extras included on the disc, so let's dig right in. The first and best extra is an audio commentary with director Paul Weitz, producer Chris Weitz, writer Adam Herz and cast members Jason Biggs, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Seann William Scott. This is a fantastic track with loads and loads of behind-the-scenes information and production stories. Well worth the listen. A "Spotlight on Location" featurette has been included, but it doesn't provide much insight into the making of the film -- a real fluff piece. As always, the outtakes section is very funny featuring dozens of flubbed lines during shooting. A feature called "Music Highlights" is included which consists of a menu with the titles of all the songs featured in the film and you can access any certain musically-enhanced scene by clicking the song title on the menu. I really don't understand why this is even included.

Next up is a Universal Records soundtrack presentation which features a music video from the band Tonic. Following this is "Classic Quotes," another strange extra in which you can see a clip of a character saying whatever quote you click on. Odd, to say the least. Rounding out the disc is the film's original theatrical trailer (this was back when Universal always included trailers), production notes, cast and crew biographies and some bonus trailers for other Universal releases. A "B+" for the extras (probably would have been an "A" if extras of more substance had been included).

Though some of the extras are less than fantastic, the great commentary track, the wonderful technical quality and the overall goodness of the film, make this a DVD that can you can set next to Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Mallrats with pride.

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