26 September 1999 | Chris-564
My cup of tea. Not everybody's - but certainly mine.
I had the good fortune to see a sneak preview of this film in England, a couple of weeks before release - and I was very impressed indeed. Hurrah - a comedy that is laugh-out-loud funny, enough to make you cringe at the embarrassing bits (of which there are many), and smile at the sentiment, which isn't corny in the slightest. This coming-of-age tale of four boys who make a pact to become men by losing their virginity by prom night is the perfect movie to go the cinema with your buddies to see, but probably not with your family. Having said that, I saw a family (son, mother, father and grandmother) coming out of the cinema, and they had a great time. The grandmother couldn't stop laughing, and saying how true it all was. Which is interesting, if a little embarrassing.
Part of the success of this movie is due to the fact that we've all had to contemplate how we feel about sex, and losing your virginity is something which (no matter how fraught with peril it is) bonds us all because it is a very frightening experience. It's also a topic which has so much comic potential, and I'm glad that cast and crew don't throw any of the opportunities away. Here's the thing: if you're going to make a movie that is probably going to offend a few people no matter what you do, and is a very near-the-knuckle affair, why stop at only half-gags? Go the whole hog, push the boat out, thrust it in their faces. And that's what "American Pie" does.
The performances are all great, if a little clichéd (are all you Americans really either:
c) sweet, loveable square-jawed heroes/long haired, intelligent heroines? ...gosh, I hope so, that would be so funny for us Brits to watch). There is yet another high school prom (jealousy sets in once more - see "Never Been Kissed"), which causes much consternation for all concerned. There are marvellous scenes between concerned father and embarrassed child, quite the highlight of the movie. I'll be interested to see how the careers of all of the stars fare after this film. I wish them all well, but I find it hard to see them all thriving outside a high-school environment (which is good, because it indicates that they all play their roles with a great deal of endearing believability).
It'll certainly give you something to talk about with your mates, and it'll make you think about things, too. It'll make you check what's in your beer, it'll make you think about apple pie, and it'll make you think more about your relationships. All of which is good stuff. The soundtrack is good (although doesn't contain any Don McLean), the lighting is also very good in places, the direction adequate, the editing fine, the . But at the end of the day, this is the kid's movie, and they make an excellent job of an excellent script and situation, so fair play to them. This movie deserves to succeed, and I hope it receives a good welcome from us Brits, who should enjoy it a lot. (Incidentally, this film got a fifteen rating, which I think is about right for it - eighteen would be too prohibitive (after all, isn't this film aimed at people aged fifteen?)). Take a piece of advice, though - if you are embarrassed easily, don't watch it with members of your family. But do watch it.