Back in 1998 American Pie was released. This was a new take on the losing-your-virginity flick. I thoroughly enjoyed that film; it was following up by two successful sequels which seemed to tie up all plotlines in a nice trilogy. If you told me that there would be three direct-to-DVD sequels and I’d be enjoying them, I wouldn’t have believed you.
In 2005 American Pie Presents: Band Camp was released, and last year brought us American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile, which I enjoyed.
This year we get American Pie Presents: Beta House. This is a direct sequel to last year's release. Whereas last time Erik Stifler (John White) was a senior in high school visiting his cousin Adam (Steve Talley) on campus, this time he’s a freshman in college. He wants to rush Beta Delta Xi House; he's accepted but he and his cohorts have to accomplish 50 tasks before semester's end. In typical American Pie fashion everyone gets swept up in the hi-jinks, pranks and partying. When one of the tasks angers a rival house, a decades-banned competition – The Games – is resurrected to see which House will triumph.
No American Pie flick is complete without an appearance by Jim’s dad, Noah Levenstein (Eugene Levy), and here he is the Grandmaster of The Games.
Beta House has the gross-out humor we’ve come to expect from the American Pie series. They really pushed the boundaries in this film, but never crossed the line, and that’s because while it has its raunchy side, American Pie also has heart and that makes all the difference. I enjoyed this film, just as I have its predecessors.
American Pie Presents: Beta House is loaded with special features:
We get a feature commentary where everyone is having fun, and clearly enjoyed working on the film and with each other.
"Deleted Scenes" is one of my favorite features; there’s only a handful of deleted scenes which were funny, but there’s another section which is better –
"Deleted Storylines" — Here we get more deleted scenes, but it's whole storylines that were filmed and then cut for various reasons. You have an option to play these with commentary; it's interesting to learn why these storylines were cut, and I’m glad to see this feature included on the disc.
"UGO's Foxy Fan on The Set" is a brief featurette that showed a UGO winner’s day on the set as an extra.
"American Pie Presents: A Public Service Announcement" – This is a tongue-in-cheek safe sex message told only as the cast of American Pie can.
"Beta House: Not Just Another Piece of The Pie" – This featurette goes behind the scenes with the stars and director to show what sets this film apart from its predecessors.
"Exclusive Interview with Mr. Levenstein" – A featurette where an editor of the campus skin-magazine "Campus Tease" interviews Mr. Levenstein (Eugene Levy) about what caused the campus games to be banned. Now it’s referred to in the film that the games were banned, but it was never explained why. This short interview gives the reasons and it’s not as interesting as we’re led to believe.
"Boobie Yule Log" – Think of the video Yule log you see at Christmas, now replace that Yule log with uncovered or tassled breasts set to music and you’ve got a fun little extra.
Outtakes are pretty standard slip-ups and crack-ups.
"Nuts About Pie" is a short featurette about all the guys at various points in filming and flicking each other in a very sensitive area, not my idea of a good time!
"Behind The Games" – This was a behind the scenes featurette that showed the making of the raunchy competitions that comprise The Games.
American Pie Presents: Beta House is another worthy addition to the American Pie franchise, and I’m curious to see what the next installment brings.