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American Pie 2 Review

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After a year at college, the American Pie gang return home as sexually frustrated as ever. Jim hasn't repeated his single conquest, Finch still lusts after Stifler's mom and Kevin pines for his lost love.

★★★★

As great Chinese philosopher once say: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's wisdom that the folks behind the camera here seem to have taken to heart, for American Pie 2 is not so much a sequel as a re-bake. Every element of the original is so faithfully - some might carp cynically - reproduced, you'd be forgiven for suffering a sense of déja vu. But you'll probably be laughing too much to notice.

It's almost unprecedented in sequels to get the whole cast back together again, but - through the miracle of contractual obligation - absolutely everyone is present and correct, right down to the kid with the monkey. The excuse for the reunion (apart from the small fact that the first movie cost $11 million to make and grossed $150 million) is that it's now summer vacation after the first year of college, and the kids have rented a house at the lake. To dodge the holiday blues, they're amusing themselves by partying, hopefully pursuing lesbians and getting their hands glued to their penises.

Pie 2 ruthlessly riffs on the original set-ups, mostly with success. Liked Jim's internet strip? Witness his bizarre "retard trombone performance". Enjoyed Stifler quaffing jizz at his party? Then you'll probably get a kick out of Stifler getting pissed on at his party. It's the kind of shameless repetition that would be damning if the sequences weren't so well-handled and the ensemble cast as goofily likeable as ever.

With J. B. Rogers (a veteran first assistant director of smut on the likes of Dumb & Dumber, There's Something About Mary and the first American Pie) taking over directing duties, writer Adam Herz has tweaked the comedy graphic equaliser a little. Ratcheted up are Seann William Scott's testosterone-addled Stifler, and the majestic Eugene Levy - possessor of cinema's finest comedy eyebrows - as Jim's incredibly excruciating dad. More muted is Chris Klein's Oz, whose attempts at phone sex are a rare low point.

There has also been a slight softening of the vulgarity, although those of a politically sensitive nature may detect a faint whiff of unwelcome homophobia during a sequence in which the boys are invited to fondle, kiss and generally molest each other by a pair of porn-mag "lesbians". That said, the scene is certainly redeemed by being so damned funny. Whether our appetites will stretch to a third slice remains to be seen, but for the moment, seconds are very welcome indeed.

How you react to the teen smash's sequel will depend on how you feel about the image of a young man with a trumpet wedged up his arse. Fans should head straight for the multiplex.

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