Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Book Of Love

Having reviewed the direct-to-video sequels AMERICAN PIE 4, 5, and 6 here, I consider it my strict duty to write about still another AMERICAN PIE, the seventh (!): AMERICAN PIE PRESENTS THE BOOK OF LOVE, which was released in late 2009.
The latest in Universal’s lucrative teen comedy series goes all the way back to the 1999 original for its inspiration. Remember the mystical sex Bible found by Thomas Ian Nicholas’ Kevin? It’s still hidden in the East Great Falls High School library, where it’s found by hapless virgins Rob (Bug Hall), who’s trying to cross the friend zone with cute buddy Heidi (Beth Behrs); horny fat guy Lube (Brandon Hardesty); and Nathan (Kevin Horton), whose frigid girlfriend Dana (Melanie Papalia) prefers the Lord over sex.

With veteran television director John Putch (THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE) behind the camera, THE BOOK OF LOVE differs from the earlier sequels in its kitschy cast of 1970s and ‘80s has-beens that amused me, but must have bewildered its target audience. Besides Rosanna Arquette (DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN) as Rob’s mom, Sherman Hemsley (THE JEFFERSONS) as a preacher, Curtis Armstrong (REVENGE OF THE NERDS) as a pervy teacher, and, of course, Eugene Levy (SCTV) back for his seventh turn as Mr. Levenstein, Putch assembles a roundtable of anachronisms to play the sex Bible’s architects: Dustin Diamond (SAVED BY THE BELL), Christopher Knight (THE BRADY BUNCH), Tim Matheson (NATIONAL LAMPOON’S ANIMAL HOUSE), Steve Railsback (THE STUNT MAN), C. Thomas Howell (THE OUTSIDERS), and Robert Romanus (FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH). Plus, Britney brat Kevin Federline, Poison’s Bret Michaels, and ubiquitous direct-to-video filmmaker Jim Wynorski, who receives an amusing “Introducing” credit.

Has the AMERICAN PIE train finally run out of fuel? I actually liked all of the earlier films to some extent, mostly because they were energetic with appealing young stars, occasionally clever gags, and lots of female nudity. THE BOOK OF LOVE is the least inspired of the series. It tries to give the actors something to do, jumping from high school to Canadian brothel to snowy ski trip with reckless abandon, but everything plays like a rehash of scenes we’ve seen before. Except for the sex with animals and corpses. That’s new. Former child star Hall (he was Alfalfa in the LITTLE RASCALS remake) is a very likable lead, and Jennifer Holland adds depth to her cheerleader hottie.

Oh, and before you ask, yes, there is a Stifler—John Patrick Jordan, whose Seann William Scott impression as new Stifler Scott is quite bad. Also with charming British soap star Louisa Lytton, Jill Teed, Nico McEown, and Romanus’ funny FAST TIMES reference to LED ZEPPELIN IV. Levy’s Noah Levenstein, previously an attorney in AMERICAN PIE PRESENTS BETA HOUSE, is now the owner of a carpet warehouse. Universal reportedly is planning a new AMERICAN PIE feature for theatrical release in 2011.

1 comment:

KaBluie said...

Rosanna Arquette wasn't in Risky Business she was in Desperately Seeking Susan.