AMERICAN PIE PRESENTS BETA HOUSE (2007)
Starring John White, Steve Talley, Bradford Anderson, Meghan Heffern, Jake Siegel, Nic Nac, Eugene Levy, Sarah Power, Christine Barger and Christopher McDonald.
Screenplay by Erik Lindsay.
Directed by Andrew Waller.
Distributed by Rogue Pictures. 89 minutes. Not Rated.
I’m not sure exactly why I keep reviewing the American Pie series. It is pretty much bulletproof as far a criticism goes. When a film has no expectation or even interest in being called good, then what can you really say? If you get technical, none of them has actually been a well-made, competent film since the spectacular 1999 original.
However, I’ve now seen all six (so far, there will be another one coming straight-to-video next Christmas — as sure as the sun rising and setting) and taken on their own low-rent level I haven’t regretted seeing any of them. Well, maybe I regretted American Wedding a bit.
That is in no way saying that the other films were good — well-made, cleverly written or adeptly acted — it’s just an acknowledgement that if you know what you are getting into with an American Pie film, it delivers the goods and can be entertaining.
Drunk, stupid, horny guys…? Check. Lots of gratuitous nudity of nubile college-age girls? Got it. Loud, bordering-on-obnoxious parties? They’re there. At least one graphic scene of someone vomiting and at least one other of someone ejaculating? Present and accounted for. (Though I wish those two would be put to rest, honestly.) Goofy, embarrassing, sexually-inappropriate parents? Goes without saying. A silly feud between our heroes and a group of ridiculously-politicially-incorrect-stereotyped bad guys which leads to a dumb contest? Rears it’s ugly head. A slumming cameo by comic genius Eugene Levy? That’s there, too.
In fact, other than the franchise title, Levy’s character of Mr. Levenstein is the only tenuous connection to the original film trilogy. Just like the last two straight-to-video chapters of the saga they had to do back-flips to shoehorn him into the story line. Still, he is always funnier than his material and it’s always nice to see him, even though he really doesn’t have much to do.
This one continues the adventures of the characters introduced in last year’s The Naked Mile, This is good because they were much more interesting characters than those in the first video-only release, Band Camp — who seem to have been, mercifully, retired for good.
The story — as if it really matters — has just-barely-past-virginity nice guy student Erik Stifler (John White) and his horn-dog buddy Cooze (Jake Siegel) go away to college. They decide they want to pledge the same house as Erik’s legendary ladies’ man party-king cousin Dwight (Steve Talley). The pledges are given 50 tasks to win admission — most of which are sexual or criminal.
Meanwhile, the Betas are having a feud with the Geek fraternity — and it goes to show you the level of writing on display that GEEK is their actual name, not just a taunt by the Betas.
All of this leads to a series of dumb parties, stupid pranks and eventually a mock Olympiad called the Greek games. And all throughout, there is lots and lots of nudity. Lots.
So who really cares what some critic thinks? Teenage and twenty-something boys with snap this up like Red Bull. In the end, that’s all the makers of American Pie Presents Beta House care about, anyway.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: December 21, 2007.