American Pie 2

on August 10, 2001 by Michael Tunison
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Jason Biggs' Jim, that infamous defiler of baked goods, is back for more awkward teen naughtiness in "American Pie 2," the inevitable sequel to the 1999 comedy smash "American Pie." Unfortunately, the gross-out fun is sliced a lot more thinly this time around, and the misadventure-filled summer vacation in question doesn't prove to be a very productive one for the capable young cast.

Twelve months after the events of the first film, the characters have completed their freshman year of college without, for the most part, resolving the emotional issues that plagued them in high school. The physically unconfident Jim is so nervous about the imminent return of his sexpot exchange-student lover Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth) that he seeks sex lessons from band-geek flautist Michelle (Alyson Hannigan). Meanwhile, Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) still carries a torch for his ex ("Josie and the Pussycats'" Tara Reid); Oz (Chris Klein from "Say It Isn't So") pines for his overseas-traveling girlfriend ("American Beauty's" Mena Suvari); and the intellectual Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) is still obsessed with the mother of his raging party-boy nemesis Stifler (Seann William Scott).

While director J.B. Rogers ("Say It Isn't So") and "American Pie" screenwriter Adam Herz strain to give all the returning cast members something to do, two of the four main plot strands (the Nicholas/Reid and Klein/Suvari romances) are basically dead weight, contributing little humor or dramatic momentum to the piece. For the most part, this filler material is a way to kill time between a few memorably crude set pieces (Jim's dad bursting in on his son in mid-intercourse; a sexual-orientation-confusing group encounter with a pair of suspected lesbians) designed to humiliate either sympathetic leading man Biggs or the scene-stealing Scott. In the end, this undercooked "Pie's" biggest achievement may be how satisfying it makes its none-too-brilliant predecessor seem in comparison. Starring Jason Biggs, Shannon Elizabeth, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Chris Owen, Tara Reid, Seann William Scott, Mena Suvari, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Eugene Levy. Directed by J.B. Rogers. Written by Adam Herz. Produced by Warren Zide, Craig Perry and Chris Moore. A Universal release. Comedy. Rated R for strong sexual content, crude humor, language and drinking. Running time: 104 min

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