American Pie is still a fun movie that might not have any sense of reality given most of these characters only exist on celluloid, but even so, it’s a movie that even with its age still manages to make me laugh be it for the gross-out, raunchy jokes or sex humor.
Universal | Unrated/R – 96 min. – $19.98 | March 13, 2012
Directed by: Paul Weitz
Writer(s): Adam Herz (written by)
Cast: Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Seann William Scott, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Tara Reid, Mena Suvari, Eugene Levy, Shannon Elizabeth
Theatrical Release Date: July 9, 1999
Features: Commentary, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Outtakes, BD-Live, DVD Copy, Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (DTS 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 40.2 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C
THE MOVIE – 3.75/5
Plot Synopsis: As their senior year of high school draws to a close, four friends – Jim (JASON BIGGS), Oz (CHRIS KLEIN), Kevin (THOMAS IAN NICHOLAS) and Finch (EDDIE KAYE THOMAS) – make a pact to lose their virginity on prom night, back one another up to encourage and help in the process. Oz attempts to change his jock persona by pursuing choir girl Heather (MENA SUVARI); Kevin struggles with the “L” word and trying to have sex with long time girlfriend Vicky (TARA REID); Finch uses the gossip mill to raise his stock; and our main character, Jim, has much, shall we say, love but not luck especially with sexy exchange student Nadia (SHANNON ELIZABETH). Through their escapades, they also must deal with their obnoxious and outrageous “friend”, Stifler (SEANN WILLIAM SCOTT) while Jim receives advice from his all too straight forward father (EUGENE LEVY).
Quick Hit Review: The first American Pie has always had a special place in my movie heart as it was released in my senior year of high school. After not seeing it in several years, I wasn’t sure how it would hold up and although it’s not as great as I once remembered, it’s still a funny, heart-felt comedy which even with some gross-out humor, didn’t make it the central comedic point.
Casting wise, although none of them have really gone on to bigger and better things (Alyson Hannigan has found some success on “How I Met Your Mother”, plus “Buffy” before that), once in a while a script and group of characters come along that just makes it perfect starting with Jason Biggs, he’s great as the hapless, clueless high school cool nerd (which doesn’t exist). Seann William Scott, even if he is obnoxious (though the sequels he’s taken to the extreme), also stands out amongst the ensemble.
Overall, the first entry in the Pie series might not hold up compared to my own memories dating back 13 years now but it’s still provides plenty of laughs and makes me long for comedies that don’t solely rely on gross-out sex humor (see the numerous direct-to-video American Pie flicks) and has a heart behind it all.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.0/5
This release comes with a semi-glossy, embossed slip cover. As far as I can tell, all of the features from the “Ultimate Edition” have been ported over, including, from what I can surmise, the content on “Beneath the Crust” Volumes 1 & 2.
American Pie Revealed: The Complete Story of All Three Comedies (3:33:29; SD) – I can’t be sure, but I believe at least part of this is the compilation of the features on the “Beneath the Crust” DVD releases all wrapped into one. The intro by Eugene Levy doesn’t make a whole lot of sense since he explains a menu system not on this Blu-ray, but even so, it’s nice to have it all here.
Anyway, the feature includes behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with members of the crew and cast, audition footage, outtakes and more deleted scenes. It’s not a well polished making-of documentary but nice to watch and get a better sense on how the franchise was born. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Audio Commentary – This group commentary includes Director Paul Weitz, Producer Chris Weitz, Writer Adam Herz and Cast Members Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott and Eddie Kaye Thomas. The track isn’t bad and offers a wide array of info from different perspectives.
Deleted Scenes (5:52; SD) – Here we get a few scenes that for whatever reason, most likely pacing or they’re not very funny, were cut from the final product.
Outtakes (2:46; SD) include line flubs and general on-set antics leading to laughter.
American Reunion: A Look Inside (3:58; HD) isn’t anything special but you get some behind-the-scenes footage with comments by the cast as they talk about reuniting one more time.
Casting Tapes (7:40; SD) – You can check out the audition tapes for Jason Biggs, Shannon Elizabeth, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas and Eddie Kaye Thomas.
Spotlight on Location (10:30; SD) is your really basic and lame EPK featurette where you learn absolutely nothing and was made only to advertise the film.
From the Set: Photographic Montage (7:10; SD) – This montage is kind of neat and includes interview excerpts with Paul and Chris Weitz.
Rounding out the disc is a Music Video (5:16; SD) for Tonic “You Wanted More”, Tonic Live Performance (10:52; SD), Poster Concepts, the Theatrical Trailer (2:31; SD) and a BD-Live portal.
Also included is a standard DVD Copy that has been previously released before and includes all the features (save for AP Revealed) and a Digital Copy download code.
VIDEO – 4.0/5
Universal releases American Pie onto Blu-ray, presented in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio. The 1080p high-def transfer mostly looks good with a discernible amount of natural film grain and noise. However, it doesn’t quite get a full stamp of approval mainly because at times it doesn’t look fantastic even by comparison with other movies from around the same time. Even so, it’s probably a good improvement over its DVD counterpart.
AUDIO – 3.0/5
Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the audio. The disc comes with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track which is OK for most home theaters but I immediately noticed that it was far too quiet. The dialogue levels are especially low while even the musical elements (like the score and songs) didn’t provide much, if any, depth.
OVERALL – 3.75/5
Overall, American Pie is still a fun movie that might not have any sense of reality given most of these characters only exist on celluloid, but even so, it’s a movie that even with its age still manages to make me laugh be it for the gross-out, raunchy jokes or sex humor. As far as the Blu-ray is concerned, I was disappointed with the lossless audio that’s not much better than a standard Dolby Digital track while the video, albeit nothing noteworthy, is a marginal improvement over the DVD version. I am glad that all of the features from the “Ultimate Edition” were ported over which isn’t always the case when it comes to Universal’s Blu-ray catalogue titles.