American Pie, the 1999 comedy that launched an enduring franchise, is now available on Blu-ray for the first time. The ensemble cast was made up of what were then largely unknown and little-known actors. Chris Klein, Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Mena Suvari, Tara Reid, Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Eddie Kaye Thomas, and Seann William Scott filled out the cast of high schoolers preparing for graduation. The individual actors’ level of success post-Pie varied, with Seann William Scott becoming the breakout star. Thirteen years later, as the original cast reunites for 2012’s American Reunion, the film remains funny and grounded in enough reality to keep it relatable.
The story of American Pie is simple. Biggs plays Jim, the focal character of the story. Jim and his friends Oz (Klein), Kevin (Nicholas), and Finch (Thomas) make a pact to lose their virginity by the end of the school year. None of them wants to go to college a virgin. Kevin already has a girlfriend, Vicky (Reid). His problem is that Vicky hasn’t let him past third base. The other three don’t have girlfriends and desperately try to figure out how to meet girls. Oz fancies himself a ladies man, but never knows the right thing to say to make a girl give him a shot. Finch thinks of himself as an intellectual, and can never catch a girl’s interest. Jim is more of an average guy – his main problem is just feeling awkward around girls. In the meantime, the cocky jock Stifler (Scott) ridicules them into thinking they’re a bunch of losers, destined to remain alone.
While Kevin tries to convince Vicky to have sex with him, Oz and Jim try to woo a couple girls who seem interested in them. Jim is seduced by the sexy exchange student Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth), while Oz finds himself attracted to shy choir girl Heather (Suvari). All of them awkwardly try to figure out how they will complete their pact by prom. What works best about American Pie are the funny moments from high school that most of us can relate to on some level. Jim’s awkward conversations with his dad (Eugene Levy) about sex are particular highlights of the movie. Both Biggs and Levy play the scenes with just enough seriousness, making it all the more cringe-inducingly hilarious. It’s not over the top, it just feels real. Even situations that might be a little exaggerated ring true because the performances are so earnest.