It’s been 13 years since the gang from East Great Falls High School first hit the screens in the teen sex comedy American Pie. Sometimes awkward, occasionally raunchy and often hilarious, the film followed the misadventures of five teenagers who resolve to lose their virginity before Senior Prom. The main cast were likable and relatable, from sensitive jock Oz (Chris Klein) all the way through to awkward Jim (Jason Biggs) and his pie desecrating antics. The 2001 sequel saw the gang taking a vacation after their first year of college while 2003’s American Wedding centred on the nuptials of Jim and his band camp-attending paramour, Michelle.
And then in 2012, American Reunion brought us back to East Great Falls, letting us see how the characters had evolved, now that they were in their 30s.
But if you think the American Pie factory was lying idle for the six years between Wedding and Reunion, think again! In that span of time, they managed to make four entire spin-off films for the Direct-to-Video market. That’s right: four! They might not feature the original cast or possess anywhere near the production values of the theatrical series, but they all contain scenes designed with hardcore fans in mind: for one, the always excellent Eugene Levy turns up as Jim’s Dad in each one, dispensing awkward sexual advice to whosoever needs it.
But before you start splashing out your hard earned cash for another slice of American Pie, let’s take a look at each of them and find out which ones are made of delicious Granny Smiths and which ones are filled with disgusting yellow turds.
American Pie Presents: Band Camp (2005) – Rated 15
A (mostly) new cast turns up for this first DTV spin-off that focuses on Matt Stifler (Tad Hilgenbrinck), the younger brother of Seann William Scott’s character from the originals. As an aspiring Girls Gone Wild-style videographer, Matt is a real chip off the old block. When a prank he plays on the school marching band goes wrong, the school counselor (Shermanator from the original AP) dispenses justice by forcing him to attend the titular band camp over his summer vacation.
Now, far be it for me to criticize Shermanator’s ability as a disciplinarian, but sending someone to a summer camp attended exclusively by hot babes is not my idea of a suitable punishment. Needless to say, once Stifler II gets there, he’s back to his old tricks, setting up hidden cameras in the girls’ showers and playing disgusting pranks for his own personal edification. Stifler II is pretty much a faded carbon copy of Seann William Scott’s original, even down to his use of the same insults and his identical laugh.. The quality of the writing and acting doesn’t really hold up to the standard of the theatrical films, although it really picks up when Eugene Levy turns up as Jim’s Dad. That man can make even the cruddiest dialogue funny!
Jim’s Dad appears as… the camp’s Morale and Conflict Resolution Officer (or MACRO). As he swiftly explains, his daughter in-law (Alysson Hannigan’s character) was the regular MACRO but had to be somewhere else – which explains why he’s there. When Stifler II gets caught in a compromising position with a woodwind instrument, Jim’s Dad counsels him by recounting Jim’s famous incident with a pie. And I thought they weren’t supposed to tell anyone about it!
Embarrassing incident: After covering all the band instruments with pepper spray, Stifler II accidentally gets some of it on his nether regions. This leads to a sequence of events that ends in the entire school assembly seeing him wash his business in a water fountain.
Trivia: The director of photography’s previous credits includes classics like The Candidate, Dog Day Afternoon, Slap Shot and Beethoven. Having spent the bulk of his career lighting stars like Al Pacino, Robert Redford and Paul Newman, one can only wonder what went through his mind the moment he realised he was filming a teenage boy ejaculating comically into an oboe.
American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile (2006) – Rated 18
If there’s one thing that the producers of the American Pie direct-to-video movies learned from the first film, it’s this: you can never have too many boobies. The Naked Mile (aka American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile, aka APP:TNM) cannot be accused of skimping on the nudity. Having dispensed with all the characters from Band Camp (aka APP:BC), we are introduced to Stifler’s cousin: Erik Stifler. Stifler III isn’t like the rest of his family, though: he’s a sensitive kid who’s in a committed relationship with his unfortunately chaste girlfriend. To let him blow off some steam, she gives Stifler III a ‘hall pass’ for the weekend so that he can go up to a local college town and participate in the titular ‘naked mile’, a loosely defined event that involves hot babes running through the street naked.
As you can see from the trailer, Naked Mile makes up for nice-guy Stifler III’s lack of douchiness by teaming him up with two pals who behave like sex-crazed bonobos. On top of that, once they turn up at the college, they meet up with another Stifler cousin, Dwight Stifler aka The Stifmeister aka Stifler IV. He takes the boys under his wing, exposing them to under-aged drinking and casual sex with college girls of questionable repute. He also drags them into a blood feud with a dwarf fraternity.
Jim’s Dad appears as… former Beta House alumnus and Naked Mile Master of Ceremonies. As it turns out, Jim’s dad returns to his Alma Mater every year. He gives the kids some advice about sex and girls, alluding to Jim’s pie-porking incident once again: Jim’s dad seemingly does not understand the meaning of discretion.
Embarrassing incidents: This film is much filthier than any of the other AP movies: there is an entire sting of visual gags ignited by a Viagra-related accident, culminated in a group of girls getting splashed by something that is definitely not beer. In the very first scene, Stifler III’s family walk in on him furiously conducting the one-man symphony. We don’t want to get into graphic details but let us just say that his elderly grandmother comes to a sticky end. Remember, this movie was given an 18 Certificate by the BBFC and it totally earns it.
Trivia: The de facto leader of Midget House is played by Jordan Prentice, who you may remember as the racist dwarf from In Bruges!
American Pie Presents: Beta House (2007) – Rated 18
A direct sequel to Naked Mile, we follow the continuing adventures of Stifler III and his pal ‘Cooze’ as they become college freshmen and pledges of Beta House, the party frat where Stifler IV still rules the roost.
This entry of the series is a much more focused affair than Beta House, taking direct inspiration from cult classics like Animal House, Old School and Revenge of the Nerds. Acknowledging that nerds are no longer the poor, maligned minority they were in the 80s, Beta House’s main rivals are a well-funded fraternity populated by entrepreneurial geeks and gold-digging babes looking to bag a rich husband.
In order to join Beta House, Stifler III and the new pledges are given a list of tasks to complete. Most of these challenges are of a debauched nature, leading to a pretty bawdy second act. We learn that the Beta House charter largely involves bedding girls with high skirts and low self-esteem. Were we to look at this film from a feminist perspective, we would come to the conclusion that girls in this movie aren’t so much objectified as they are objects. Hopefully it’s becoming apparent to you that these movies are not suitable for movie night with your girlfriend. When the movie slows down and gives the boner gags a break, it normally segues into romantic scenes with the kind of super-soft focus and cheesy music that’ll make you think you’re watching a late-night movie on Channel Five.
But from a purely story structure perspective, this is the strongest of the spin-offs thus far!
Jim’s Dad appears as… the man chosen to officiate the climactic ‘Greek Olympiad’ between Geek House and the Sex House Beta House. In every one of these movies, Jim’s Dad seems to turn up at sex-based events all flustered and embarrassed, leaving us with the impression that he’d do literally anything to avoid spending time with his wife.
Embarrassing incidents: The obsession with reproductive liquids continues! After a disastrous first date in which his lap is burned by hot soup, Stifler III’s first date offers to apply some lotion on the affected area. However, in classic fashion, this results in his over-excitement! In fact, this trope gets a decent airing in Beta House. By the time we hit the 35 minute mark, we’ve seen him achieve release no fewer than four times!
Trivia: Beta House features an un-credited performance by Sima Fisher as ‘Fighting Blonde Stripper’. You may recognise her as ‘Dancer’ in Max Payne, ‘Cheering Stripper’ in The Love Guru, ‘Redhead Seductress’ in Death Warrior and ‘Acquaintance’ in Casino Jack.
American Pie Presents: The Book of Love (2009) – Rate 18
Ditching nearly every character from the previous AP films, Book of Love goes back to the basics to deliver the strongest of the direct-to-video American Pies. As with the original, the story follows a group of hapless high school virgins as they try to gain admission to the pants party. When one of them discovers an instructional guide to getting with ladies (previously featured in American Pie 1), the three of them think they’ve hit the jackpot!
As you can see, there are a lot of call-backs to the original trilogy: there are the house parties, the awkward adults, a foodstuff-related tryst and the emergence of another Stifler (Stifler V).
The lead actors are somewhat lacklustre, in particular Brandon Hardesty, whose singular talent seems to be his resemblance to Jonah Hill. The supporting cast, however, is very strong for such a modestly budgeted film: Eugene Levy returns once more, joined by 2 Broke Girls’ Beth Behrs, Rosanna Arquette and Curtis Armstrong (Booger from Revenge of the Nerds). The soundtrack is also packed with hit songs from artists like Katy Perry and Elliot Smith!
Fans of topless girls need not fret: there is a house party sequence in the middle of the film that prominently features a wet t-shirt competition and a bit where our hero throws up on a sexy lady!
Jim’s Dad appears as… the originator of the Book of Love! When the book is damaged in an accident, the kids enlist him in their quest to track down all the book’s contributors in order to recreate this tome of knowledge! We also discover that he’s the owner of a local carpet warehouse!
Embarrassing incidents: Rob (the main guy) carnally re-purposes a peanut butter sandwich and the smell entices the family dog to get in on the action. This happens in the first scene, boys and girls! There’s also a scene involving a geriatric Canadian prostitute and another one in which Stifler V gets intimately violated by a moose. In real life, this kind of assault would’ve ended in significant internal trauma and certain death.
Trivia: Watch out for a string of cameos from veterans of High School/College films and TV shows. If you ever wondered what happened to Screech from Saved by the Bell after his unfortunate foray into home-made sex tapes, this is your opportunity!