American Pie, by Albert W. Vogt III

We were all idiots once. I know I was. Call it immaturity. Call it raging hormones. Call it whatever you like. Maybe it is inevitable, though apparently not for everyone, but (eventually) we grow up. Even Peter Pan gets old, assuming that Hook (1991) is even “canon” anymore. Who knows? Probably somebody at Disney. But taking the story of eternal boyhood as an example, we understand as adults that while it is good to maintain a youthful spirit, we cannot act like kids our entire lives. 1 Corinthians 13:11 says, “When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.” When I was a child, I watched stupid movies like American Pie (1999) and thought it was funny. Rewatching it now was painful, and fifteen minutes into it I tilted my head heavenward and said, “I cannot wait for this to be over.” Luckily it is only an hour and a half long.

American Pie gets the garbage rolling right away with Jim (Jason Biggs) alone in his room attempting to watch pornography on a scrambled television station. At the wrong moment, for Jim at least, in walks first his mother (Molly Cheek), and then his father (Eugene Levy). At first, Jim tries to pass it off as a nature show he is trying to watch. But then Jim’s dad hears the dirty language involved and discovers the sock affixed to Jim’s privates, and suddenly the parents understand what is actually happening. This sets the tone for the rest of the tiresome jokes in this monotone, sex driven “comedy.” And I do mean “sex driven” because Jim and his three friends are frustrated by their attempts thus far to end their virginity. After a party at all around class jerk Stifler’s (Sean William Scott) house, they make a pact that by the end of the school year they will have all done the deed. They each have varying tactics. The, um, brightest(?) among them, Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) instead of desperately going after every female form, pays a trusted ally Jessica (Natasha Lyonne) to spread rumors about his supposed prowess. The sensitive jock, Oz (Chris Klein), opts to join the school glee club in order to enhance his emotional side. The only one among them with a girlfriend, Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), spends most of his time trying to convince Vicky (Tara Reid) to let him “go all the way.” Jim has no clue what to do, and bungles an opportunity when exchange student Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth) comes to his house to study. It is the raunchiest scene in the movie, but it is played for laughs. Whatever. The long and short of all this is that they get to their senior prom not having completed their stated goal. At the after party prom they are all “successful,” for lack of a better word, even Jim. That is pretty much it. Moving on.

I am sorry, but in talking about American Pie, I have to go into Theology of the Body mode. If you are unfamiliar with Theology of the Body, in the most basic of terms it is the Catholic Church’s way of explaining why sex is sacred. I wish I had understood such things when I was younger, but I digress. Yet that is really the point, is it not? When we are younger, especially boys, we want to have sex for any number of ridiculous reasons. The aforementioned hormones are certainly one, as our bodies are telling us it is supposedly time to procreate. What Theology of the Body reminds us of is that God created us as more than just a series of biological imperatives that must be followed whenever we have the urge. That is something that should not be taken lightly. Another reason we are so eager for sex is that we want to rebel in some form against our upbringing. While this is not necessarily something covered by Theology of the Body, there are the Ten Commandments to consider. You know, the part where it says to honor your parents, the ones doing that upbringing? Then again, that is one of several major problems with the film. The parents that we do see are far too permissive of their kids doing the things they do. Stifler’s mom (Jennifer Coolidge) is the worst. Not only does she host the outrageous after prom party, but she has sex with Finch! When you are eighteen this might seem really cool. As I grew in my Faith, I came to understand such things far differently. Movies like American Pie make it extremely difficult to maintain an alternative standard.

Needless to say, I would not recommend American Pie for any reason, though it was neat to be reminded that Blink 182 is in the film. Nonetheless, even if I think differently about its content now so many years removed from when I first saw it, I still find its one track mind painful to sit through. Interestingly, Jim says it best when they get to prom and have yet to have sex. Kevin is still excited about their prospects, but Jim’s frustration boil over, leading him to say that he is tired of sex even though had yet to do it. I was tired of it in this movie by the end of the first scene. It is not quite pornography, but it is still pornographic. Avoid.

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