American Pie Presents The Naked Mile
The fifth movie of the
American Pie franchise (and the second which has gone straight to video)
has almost no direct connection to the classic 1999 teen comedy other than
Now the original characters
are down to one - though in fairness that one is the best comic actor in the
series - Eugene Levy has an extended cameo as Mr. Levenstein. Even
though he isn't on screen that much time, he is still an effortlessly funny
character. Like the last edition, Band Camp, the writers have
to go through some gymnastics to get him into the storyline, but I'm glad
he's there. Especially nice is a short scene when he is talking with
the main character about his son and they reminisce over the events of the
That said, while The
Naked Mile couldn't exactly be called a good movie, the surprising thing
is that it is the best film in this series since the second (arguably since
the first). The reason for this step up - particularly after the twin
nadirs of American Wedding and American Pie Presents Band Camp,
is because they have finally remembered what really made the first film
work. More focus on the normal, sex-crazed but inexperienced
teenagers, less Stifler.
Though, ironically, the
nerdy virgin of this film is also a Stifler; Erik, a cousin of the original
trilogy's breakout slimebag character Steve Stifler. He is also a
cousin of Steve's brother Matt from Band Camp. A third brother named
Adam shows up here - though in the original film Stifler only had one
brother (named only "Stifler's brother" in the credits and a different actor from either of these ones, at that...)
However, this film is smart enough (unlike the last two) to make the
partying Stifler a supporting role, a little Stifler can go a long way.
Interestingly the real
lead, Erik Stifler,
is played by an actor who is a
complete splitting image of a seventies actor named Gary Grimes, who also
played a nerdy kid obsessing about losing his virginity in the classic (and
much more restrained) movie Summer of 42. Literally, I kept
watching the end credits to see if he was Grimes' son (or even grandson), but
that wasn't the case. The actor is named John White. However,
even beyond the similarity of looks, White has a nice, easy, unforced
likability and innocence much like the older actor.
Erik has the dubious
distinction of being the only Stifler
ever to make it to senior year of high school as a virgin. He is in love with a
beautiful, but pure girl (Jessy Schram). When he wants sex and she
isn't ready, she gives him a free pass to go out and get laid one weekend
with no guilt or recriminations. Therefore Erik and his party buddies
go up to college for the infamous Naked Mile weekend - literally a nude jog
of thousands of students - and to visit his legendary cousin Adam.
Everyone is determined to get him laid to a beautiful, willing bartender
(Candace Kroslak), but Erik is having second thoughts because he is in love with his
In a move that is
surprisingly subtle and thoughtful for the later films in the series, in one
scene Adam Stifler talks about what a chore it can be to have to live up to
the family name and that the family is lucky to have a well-balanced member
like Erik. That kind of subtle self-reflection has been absent from
this series since the first slice of Pie.
Also surprisingly tactful
in the new movie - again, just like the first one - the girls are beautiful,
but don't look like porn stars. They look real, something this series
lost touch with long ago.
Of course, being an
American Pie movie it is going to have its low-brow humor, too; crazy
parties, lots of nudity, extended jokes about super viagra and a few scenes
where bodily fluids spurt out on people. There is also a strange and
slightly disturbing ongoing feud with a fraternity made up of nasty midgets,
which seems mean-spirited rather than quirky, which I assume was their
Nonetheless, in The
Naked Mile, this series has regained its heart and pulse somewhat.
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Posted: December 1, 2006.