American Pie 2
Arriving at exactly the right time to capture the American zeitgeist, 1999's American Pie helped ignite a new teen-movie boom by updating the sex-obsessed raunchiness of early-'80s teen-sex comedies with a more-than-healthy dose of Farrelly-style gross-out humor. While the notorious pie-fucking scene may have been American Pie's principal claim to fame, the movie really distinguished itself from its already-forgotten peers with the affability of its young cast and an underlying current of sentimentality. Given the film's success, it's not surprising that the sequel offers more of the same, returning for even more sexual humiliation, scatological gags, and unconventional uses of bodily fluids. As its commercials have boasted to near-comic effect, American Pie 2 does indeed reunite all the primary actors from the original (even Thomas Ian Nicholas) for an even lazier romp, this time focusing on the male leads' sexual misadventures during a summer spent on the beach. Without the original's virginity-losing pact to give it the faintest pretense of structure, American Pie 2 is even more rambling and episodic than its predecessor, hurtling from gag to gag powered by little more than its enthusiastic vulgarity. Prominent jokes involving urine and crazy glue have replaced the original's sperm and pie-fucking showstoppers, but otherwise American Pie 2 is a near-remake of its predecessor, right down to its generous allotment of T&A and a soundtrack ripped straight from Top 40 radio. But, as in the original, it's not the cheap gags or thinly developed characters that distinguish American Pie 2, but the cast's charisma. As the film's horndog alpha-jackass, Seann William Scott dominates every scene he's in with his over-the-top boorishness, while Jason Biggs' nebbishy, Ben Stiller-esque charm remains the movie's surprisingly squishy heart and soul. American Pie 2 shares many of its predecessor's faults—it's lazy, sloppily constructed, wildly uneven, and only intermittently funny—but nearly all of its strengths, as well. And, in a cinematic climate so devoid of laughs that even an appealing but fairly generic comedy like American Pie can qualify as an instant gross-out classic, that should be more than enough.