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Friday, 10 August, 2001, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
Pie sequel tests US censors
American Pie 2
American Pie 2: Lewder and cruder than its predecessor
By the BBC's Peter Bowes in LA

The sequel to the 1999 blockbuster American Pie is about to test America's laws on film censorship.

American Pie , which opens on Friday in the US, continues the fumbling sexual exploits of a group of teenagers eager to broaden their love-making experience.

For comedic, gross-out effect, apple pie is replaced by extra strong glue. The resulting sticky situation proves to be excruciatingly embarrassing, not to mention painful, for Jason Biggs's character, Jim.


These kids lives are R-rated, our lives are R-rated, we have sex, we drink

James Rogers, director

In the first film, the group of teenage friends vowed to rid themselves of their virginity before going to college.

In the sequel, we learn that a year away from home has done little to educate the lads in the art of dating or sexual etiquette.

While following the same formula as the original, American Pie 2 is sexually explicit and appears to rely much more on below-the-belt humour.

Once again, the film is rated R for strong sexual content, crude humour, language and drinking. That means access is restricted with under 17s having to be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian.

Since the release of the original, the political climate surrounding the excesses of Hollywood has hardened.

Clamp down

Washington politicians have sought to impose pressure on film-makers to act more responsibly and cinema owners have noticeably stepped up their policing of the rating laws.

High profile posters outside cinemas warn parents that it is their responsibility to keep their children in check, while cinema staff regularly check the ages of young people buying tickets.

American Pie
Levy and Biggs in the first movie return for second helpings

However, it is clear that American Pie 2 was always destined for a mid-teen audience. One of the film's adult stars, Eugene Levy, who plays Jim's Dad, has acknowledged that it is likely to appeal to audiences from the age of 14.

He also suggested that adults would be keen to check out the teen sex romp. "It's almost like a manual for parents just so they know what their kids are doing," he said.

It has been suggested by the film-makers that the people who set movie ratings may be out of touch with what is really going on in their kids' lives.

The film's director, James Rogers, has said the movie is an accurate representation of the lives of modern-day teenagers.

"These kids' lives are R-rated. Our lives are R-rated, we have sex, we drink, we get our hands stuck on our penises," he explained.

Reservations

Seann William Scott , who plays the sex-obsessed Stifler, ends up in bed with a couple of girls who pretend to be lesbians.

The scene involves some nudity and has won some of the biggest cheers at preview screenings.

Tomcats
Tomcats: One in a spate of explicit teen movies

Scott has said he would be the first to acknowledge the fine line the film treads between good fun and bad taste.

"I remember reading the first American Pie script and I was like 'How are they going be able to do this?'

"I remember coming to the set one day and finding out that they filmed Jason Biggs having sex with an apple pie," he explained.

Scott said he had reservations about making the sequel. His main concern was that the first film was so successful its gross-out comedy may not work a second time.

"I think audiences are pretty sick of it and there's not much you can do to top it," he said.

However, he was persuaded by a strong script. "I think it does it again," he said.

Enticement

Dr Tom Snyder is the editor of Movieguide which reviews new films for the Christian Film and Television Commission.

He said he expected American Pie 2 not to do as well as the original.

Freddy Got Fingered
Freddy Got Fingered bombed at the box office

"All the other movies like this have bombed at the box office this year so we expect this one to definitely not do as well as the first one," he said. "It'll be an interesting test case."

Freddie Got Fingered, which starred Tom Green, was a box office casualty earlier this year with audiences rejecting the film's gross-out comedy.

The R-rated picture was critically panned. Tomcats, also rated R, and laced with strong sexual content, was another poor performer.

Dr Snyder said he was disturbed by what he perceived as Pie 2's mixed messages. On the one hand, the main character is searching for the one love of his life while his friends seem happy to jump into bed with anyone at any time.

"We're not really in favour of ratings because they really don't do anything - they're just an enticement to young people to go and see these movies," said Dr Snyder.

"We're not in favour of Victorian prudishness," he explained. But, he added: "The movie's about losing your virginity and becoming a sex machine.

"Some of the characters are very promiscuous. We would not recommend this movie - even for adults."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Actor Seann William Scott who plays Stifler
"We had a blast making it"
See also:

08 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Cheap frills in Hollywood
27 Oct 00 | UK
Battle over sex videos
22 May 00 | UK
Green light for porn films
26 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Film boss defends Elliot decision
20 Oct 00 | Entertainment
US rates Billy with Exorcist
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