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American Pie: Collector's Edition

Review Written by: Estefan Ellison
Film: B+
Video/Audio/Extras: B-/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

The teen comedy is an interesting genre. Teen angst and the secondary school system are ripe for parody and while some comedies manage to do it, some don't. Some examples of teen films that fall into the "Skip it" file include Napoleon Dynamite, Sixteen Candles and ironically enough, Not Another Teen Movie. If you want quality entrys in the teen film genre, I advise you to rent Election, The Breakfast Club, Mallrats and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. You cannot go wrong with those four. I also highly recommend that you watch a film that re-invented the teen genre for a new generation: American Pie. This wonderfully ripe comedy is just filled to the brim with wonderful R-rated laughs and twenty-somethings doing very outrageous things that you shouldn't do at home (or anywhere for that matter).

Jim (Jason Biggs), Oz (Chris Klein), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) are four seniors who are about to graduate. When the biggest geek in the school (Chris Owen) gets laid, they decide to make a pact to lose their virginity before prom. Each of them tries their own special technique to do so. Jim tries to make it with a foreigner (Shannon Elizabeth) and baked goods. Oz joins the school choir so he can prove to girls that he is sensitive. Kevin uses a special "sex bible" that is recommended to him by his brother (Casey Affleck in a cameo). Finch, meanwhile, uses the power of rumours. Of course, they also have to deal with the embarrasments put upon them by party-meister Steve Stifler (Seann William Scott).

This is a very important point that I have to say: For those of you starting secondary school, American Pie is a must. Sure, it's not very realistic, but it does make you laugh at people who are older than you and have similiar problems. Most of this has to do with both the very clever screenplay by Adam Herz and the wonderful ensemble cast. Jason Biggs leads a great group of performers with his potrayal of the confused Jim. Eddie Kaye Thomas also provides many laughs as the Graduate-esque Finch. The supporting is just as terrific, most notably Eugene Levy as Jim's almost helpful father, Alyson Hannigan as the flute-playing band geek and of course, Seann William Scott as the Stif-meister. Moving on to the DVD of the film, the video does a good job, though scratches are shown quite a lot throughout the picture. Nonetheless, it doesn't affect the film much. Meanwhile, the audio is excellent with the pop songs and dialogue working wonderfully.

The first extra on the disc is an audio commentary with the stars and cretors of American Pie. I really enjoy commentaries when there are a lot of participants in the room together. They each talk about the shooting of the film as well as making fun of everyone. While they do praise quite a lot, this is not still a must-hear. A promotional behind-the-scenes piece entitled "Spotlight on Location" appears next and surprisingly gives some nice points. There is also a gag reel with the usual mistakes by the cast and crew. An unusual extra is a feature where you can easily go to any song in the film. I don't see the point of this, because there is a reason why scene selection menus exist on DVDs. Some very well-written text about the production as well as a soundtrack promo and music video appear next.

Finally, the DVD finishes off with a whole load of trailers. We are treated to previews of American Pie, The Blues Brothers, Animal House, American Graffiti, Man on the Moon and Snow Falling on Cedars. Fans of the film should purchase this mighty fine disc. In fact, this is one of those rare moments where I say that those who haven't seen American Pie should also buy it. Trust me, you will have a very good time watching this film and its respective special features.

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