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Infantile, lazy, cynical

Review: Fall down unfunny 'Pie 2'


By Paul Tatara
CNN Reviewer

(CNN) -- America, your prayers have been answered. "American Pie 2" features the same actors as "American Pie," contains the same infantile sex jokes, and operates on the same guiding principle: namely, to make as much money as possible without even approaching competence or originality.

Obviously, this thing is scientifically engineered to be a stupid movie. The catch is that it's a cynical, unbelievably lazy stupid movie, and it's pawned off as one of the major releases of the summer.

Jason Biggs stars, once again, as Jim, an earnest young guy who stumbles into all kinds of hee-larious situations when he tries to masturbate or have sex. Jim and his buddies from the last picture -- Oz (Chris Klein), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), and Stifler (Sean William Scott) -- now have a year of college under their belts. They still want nothing more than to do the nasty, and they try everything in their power to make it happen. Eventually, they run out of time, and you get to go home.

ON THE WEB The stars of 'American Pie 2'

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'American Pie 2' follows the characters from the original sleeper hit to college

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Unlike the much less elaborate "The Godfather Part II," character motivations in "American Pie 2" are impossible to understand if you haven't seen the original. Director J.B. Rogers and screenwriter Adam Herz make no attempt to define who these people are, even in broad strokes; it's never even explained how they know each other. Previously unseen actors simply enter the room and start blabbing. Then, just to keep things moving forward, they eyeball some breasts. Or maybe someone pees on their heads.

Crawling through indiscreet product placement

The first scene establishes Rogers' pristine credentials as a major- league hack. Why bother with an interesting opening image? The camera just crawls into a dorm room where Jim and a girlfriend are trying to have sex. Jim's dad (Eugene Levy) shows up early to take his son home for summer break, and unexpectedly walks in during the transaction. Everyone shrieks and jumps around in embarrassment, then there's a carefully calculated shot that reveals exactly what brand of condom Jim is using.

The entire movie plays like a fifth-rate burlesque show sprinkled with indiscreet product placement. But don't expect to see that on the poster.

This time around, everyone hangs out at a summer beach house the guys are renting, an easy way to tell that this is a different movie. Jim is preparing for the return of his bodacious Czech dream girl, Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth, whose performance consists of sticking her chest out and pronouncing "w" as "v"). Sweet, sexually adventurous Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) gives Jim pointers on what to do when Nadia finally shows up ... but those violins suggest that Michelle really likes Jim.

Oz is still in love with Heather (Mena Suvari), but Heather is off in another town, almost certainly because Suvari has better things to do at this point. Vicky (Tara Reid) is having trouble relating to her ex- boyfriend, Kevin (Nicholas). Finch is obsessed with once again bedding Stifler's mother. Stifler, for his part, repeatedly shouts out dreadfully mundane, sexually-based one-liners. And Jessica (Natasha Lyonne, who gets off easy) hardly does anything at all.

Mena Suvari
Mena Suvari makes an apperance in "American Pie 2"  

Got all that? There will be a test later -- if you're still awake.

Sticking it to the audience

The "big" gag this time -- which you're already familiar with because the TV commercials have methodically pounded it into your skull -- is that Biggs super-glues his penis to his palm while he's watching a porno tape. This is almost as funny as when he sticks his penis in a pie in the first movie, which is almost as funny as Ben Stiller getting his penis caught in his zipper in "There's Something About Mary" (1998) which is almost as funny as that guy dangling his penis into the girls' shower in "Porky's" (1981).

There are people who insist that this kind of release should be reviewed with one eye on the "target audience," as if film criticism is just another step in honing the studio's multimillion-dollar gouging stick. Well, if you're the type who proudly insists that movie entertainment should, by definition, be void of resourceful wit and sharp construction, you're bound to be thrilled with the utter lack of ambition you'll find in "American Pie 2."

Now, run out and see it. And, whatever you do, don't raise those sights.

"American Pie 2" offers up condoms, sex toys, bodily fluids, large breasts, tongue-kissing lesbians, profanity and assorted crotch grabbing. Universal's willfully delusional production notes -- which describe "a group of friends hilariously and all-too-humanly exploring the undiscovered frontiers of love, sex, and friendship" -- are considerably funnier than the movie itself. Rated R.

• 'American Pie 2' - official site

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