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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary - by director Paul Weitz, producer Chris Weitz, writer Adam Herz and cast members Eddie Kaye Thomas, Jason Biggs and Seann William Scott
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Production notes
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • DVD-ROM features
  • Outtakes

American Pie - CE

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 91 mins . MA15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

It's been a while since I've had a good wholesome slice of warm apple pie. Strike that, I meant a good teenage comedy. Has the genre tapered out of late with changes to classifications, or did it need a break from all the childish attempts of the mid '80s making us want some alternative entertainment? There's Something About Mary brought the cringe and laugh factor back into the cinemas and people realised that this kind of comedy was what we've been missing of late. American Pie brings the sex comedy into the '90s and does it with some of the funniest scenes I've seen in a while.

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Three boys, the Internet and a hot babe onscreen.

Four young friends about to graduate find that getting a girlfriend and going all the way is just not happening for them. Jim (Jason Biggs), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Oz (Chris Klein) and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) decide to make a pact. They will all help each other out, no matter what it takes, to lose their virginity before prom night.

Each boy has their own obtacles they need to overcome before they can gain the confidence to move into high gear. Jim finds it hard to talk to girls, so when hot exchange student Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth) ask if she can use his room to change out of her gymnastic sweat clothes, Jim can only broadcast it across the Internet. Kevin is having trouble coming to terms with telling his girlfriend Vicki (Tara Reid) that he loves her, but he must do so before she allows anything to happen between them. Oz is a skilled lacrosse jock who quickly finds a soft spot for a capella singing to woo his catch, whilst Finch is your typical mature adult trapped in a teenage body who can't come to terms with using public toilets. His tactic is to have rumours going around the school about him be confirmed by his friends to get the girls interested.

A typical scenario you may think, but it's not the premise that will entertain you, it's the execution. There are some classic scenes here all interwoven with a good plot and great character definition. Needless to say you can get what you want even if it doesn't happen the way you thought it would...

  Video
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Oz sings to Stifler - It's amazing what a woman can do to a guy.
Once again, Columbia Tristar has given us one of their top-shelf transfers for us to enjoy. This DVD restores my faith immediately in the quality that can be achieved with the format.

Most noticeable is the sharpness and detail in the movie. At all times you could clearly make out any intricate detail within the scene and the image had a film-like look about it, with only slight hints of edge-sharpening. Colour is rich and beautifully saturated in brightly lit scenes and flesh tones (and there is flesh aplenty in here) are naturally rendered.

My main gripe about the film, not the transfer, is that it comes across as too dark at times. The region 1 disc exhibited this characteristic and I was hoping it was a fault with the transfer, but it's the movie itself. Don't adjust your brightness levels as everything is rendered as it should be. If you could accurately adjust the mid-levels of an image then you could compensate for this.

The movie is presented in an anamorphically enhanced 1.85:1 aspect ratio which will keep everyone happy.

  Audio
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"Like warm apple pie" - Oz.
Barring the excellent rock soundtrack associated with the movie, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack has nothing else going for it. Given this, you can't really expect every movie that is encoded with 5.1 to fully utilise all the channels as it would render a movie like this artificial sounding, but the lack of ambience in some key scenes gives off the impression that not a lot of attention was paid to the audio.

Dialogue is always clear and you'll want it to be, as some scenes require you to absorb a lot of what is going on without distraction. Bass response is mostly non-existent other than being used in conjunction with the music.

As mentioned earlier, surround activity is minimal with a tired use of ambience. Do not adjust your speakers as you'll ruin your settings for other effective soundtracks.

  Extras
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Finch, not one to use public toilets, get's some laxative encouragement.
We have a smattering of extras on this disc that should keep those who waited for this region 4 release very happy. First off, I have to let you all know that this is not the un-rated cut of the movie which will give you an alternate version of the pie scene and a restricted version of the Internet scene. There are others that are different which, in my opinion, do affect your reaction to the gags.

Now for the extras:

  • Spotlight on Location - A ten minute behind the scenes look at the making of the film with interviews of key cast and crew, along with clips from the movie.
  • Audio Commentary - by director Paul Weitz, producer Chris Weitz, writer Adam Herz and cast members Eddie Kaye Thomas, Jason Biggs and Seann William Scott. This is an entertaining commentary with everyone contributing their little titbits of information. All are having a great time, which is nice to hear and the information provided is an excellent companion to the movie itself.
  • Outtakes - Some two and a half minutes of sub par quality outtake footage. The alternate pie scene is included, but it is a shame to see that VHS "quality" footage was used rather than the un-rated DVD quality that is obviously available.
  • Theatrical Trailer - The usual addition on Universal titles.
  • Production notes and cast/crew biographies - Pages of text here talking about the movie and profiles of the key people involved.
  • DVD-ROM content - This is not much as it's more an extended version of the production notes and biographies with a description of the plot. The only multimedia aspects included are short clips from the CD soundtrack.
  • Classic Quotes - A nifty feature where you can select a classic quote from the movie and you are taken straight to that scene and then back to the menu again. Something like this wouldn't take up much room at all on the disc as it is only using start-stop time-codes within the movie rather than including the same scene twice.
  • Music highlights - This isn't mentioned on the slick. It's the same style as the classic quotes section instead going to the selected song in the movie. Another nice touch.
  • Animated menus - We get the same Macintosh styled menu as the US release. It's only animated on the main menu screen with the rest being static.

  Overall  
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You can always rely on magazines to learn about the birds and the bees.
This is one of the great teen comedies of the '90s. I enjoyed this a lot more than There's Something About Mary, most likely because I'm not that much of a Ben Stiller fan (just wait until I get a chance to review Mystery Men).

American Pie has appeal for all ages and it comes highly recommended from the folk at DVD net. Having said that, the un-rated version would have made this release complete...


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=264
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      And I quote...
    "This is one of the great teen comedies of the '90s and it comes highly recommended..."
    - Steve Koukoulas
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-505 Gold
    • TV:
          Hitachi CMT2979 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Yamaha RX-V595
    • Speakers:
          Peterson Labs 100Watts
    • Centre Speaker:
          Sherwood SC-60E
    • Surrounds:
          Sherwood LS-502
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
      Recent Reviews:
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