Following the success of American Pie (1999), it’s unsurprising this franchise continued with this sequel. American Pie 2 picks up a year after the first movie with everyone’s favourite gang returning from their first year at college.
Jim (Jason Biggs) and his friends (Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Sean-William Scott) now feeling like “those old dudes who hang around with high school kids” decide the best way to enjoy some downtime is to rent a place out by the lake for a summer of partying while raunchy shenanigans, dildos and superglue are never far behind.
Unlike the first slice of pie, this is much more focused on the lead male characters than the ensemble with the other cast taking on a much more supporting role. In fact certain characters are physically omitted for participating a great deal. For example Heather (Mena Suvari) is studying in Europe and her relationship with Oz (Chris Klein) while a focal point in the previous film is put back to long distance phone calls. Other characters suffer the same relegation to supporting cast with lead characters excited they will show up in the end and while in some ways it does mean that this film isn’t as charming as its predecessor it also gives a healthy dose of realism and draws on memories of returning from college.
However, where American Pie 2 excels at improving on its predecessor is turning up the raunchy comedy and leaving behind taking on an entire cast for character development. Some people may like this other won’t but this movie aimed to the established characters, put them in a familiar situation and turn up the comedy. Like its predecessor the plot is rather thin in this case it is detailing the boys’ holiday rather than trying to lose their virginity with the pay-off being a huge party at the end – or prom if you want to make that comparison. The film largely focuses around set comedic segments to advance the story which also like the original fly quickly providing a decent pace with short bursts of downtime to bring in classic parental advice from Jim’s dad (Eugene Levy).
The characters are all still the love-able bunch we knew back in school with some of the more background characters in the first film gaining their chance to shine. Among these is a fantastic performance by Alyson Hannigan as the sweet and naive – though surprisingly “experienced” – band geek Michelle who is brought into the forefront and solidified as a compelling character in the series. Sean William-Scott also returns as Stifler and gets thrust into the spotlight, which is unsurprising due to his performance and the overall popularity of the character from the first film.
With Adam Herz returning as writer, the second slice of pie has a very similar feel to the original though it does lose some of the charm. Fans of the first movie will be happy to see the gang return while those looking for more laughs will not be disappointed this time round with this very strong installment of the series.