Ask Judge Eric Profancik about his naked mile, and you'll hear a sordid tale involving a flat tire, a rest area, and a goat.
"You're a Stifler and a virgin?"
"Stifler: My name. My legacy. My curse."
America Pie: The name. An attempt at a legacy. Its curse?
If you're keeping count, folks, American Pie Presents The Naked Mile is now the fifth film to carry the moniker "American Pie." It all started off innocently enough with a young man and a pie, but now it's progressed through marriage, band camp, and now running without clothes. In my review of American Pie Presents Band Camp I said, "American Pie, you need to be very careful in the marketing and branding of your name. Instead of being remembered and thought of as a funny franchise, if you keep in this vein your name will sour like that of National Lampoon—a once venerated comedy franchise that now puts its name on any piece of crap that comes its way." Each movie has gotten a little worse, and I was pretty sure I wanted nothing more to do with another movie sporting this name brand. But I'm a big sucker for the teen sex farce and I gave it one more try. Is there any morsel of redemption or is this another nail in the coffin?
Facts of the Case
"We cut class to get ass."
Erik Stifler (John White, Fast Food High), cousin of the infamous Steve Stifler, is about to graduate from high school wearing a badge of dishonor for the venerable Stifler clan: he's a virgin! He's quite unusual for a Stifler in that he's not obnoxious and controlled by his penis. In fact, he's a good kid with a great girlfriend, Tracy (Jessy Schram, Veronica Mars). The problem is that she won't put out.
Erik's friends begin to pressure him to pressure Tracy to give it up. On the flip side, Tracy's friends pressure her to have sex with Erik because if she doesn't, as a man he will get it somewhere. Giving in to the logic of the situation, Tracy agrees to have sex with Erik. Things naturally don't quite work out.
This weekend Erik and his buddies plan to go up to the college campus to visit Dwight Stifler (Steve Talley, Summerland) for his college's big naked mile run. Plagued with guilt over their sexless relationship, Tracy gives Erik a "guilt-free pass" to do whatever he wants while away.
Will Erik lose his virginity before Tracy realizes the travesty of giving a Stifler so much freedom?
"No more beating off to dumpster porn."
With trepidation I put in the DVD and hit play. I then watched the stunning opening sequence and all my worries melted away. The limp humor of Band Camp was nowhere to be found, and The Naked Mile was filled with a firm, rowdy, and lascivious wit that made you smirk with its aggressive antics. Simply put, The Naked Mile is a naughty, fun romp that brings back the raunchiness of the first film. If you like outrageous teen sex farces, this one fits the bill beautifully.
I've tossed out some mighty big words for such a wisp of a film, but The Naked Mile absolutely fulfills what it sets out to do: It makes you laugh. Many times over. I don't want to ruin any of the many surprising moments in the movie, so allow me to just give you a few glimpses of what you will find. Let's go back to that opening scene to tell you it involves dumpster porn, lube, projectile bodily fluids, parents, grandparents, humiliation, and something else I won't mention. One of those parents, Harry Stifler—yes, we finally have a Harry Stifler—is played to perfection by Christopher McDonald (Requiem for a Dream). He delights in being a Stifler and revels in his surging hormones, thus stealing every single scene he's in. Next up is a man favorite, midgets, I mean little people. There's a little person fraternity on campus and they are a bunch of bullies. If you need a great antagonist, make him a pissed off little man. Reprising his role once again is Eugene Levy (Cheaper by the Dozen 2) as Mr. Levenstein, or Jim's dad, in a cameo appearance. Unlike his sleepwalking in Band Camp, Eugene is comfortable and commanding in his small role, which actually does have an interesting twist to the plot. And, beyond those "specifics," there's a great mud football game, lots of breasts, and rampant sexual humor. What more could you want?
It is a sex comedy, so it isn't the deepest piece of fiction around, but that's not the point. The point is to create interesting characters in odd situations that make you laugh. In that, The Naked Mile breaks the four minute mark.
This straight-to-DVD release is a nice package from our friends at Universal. Coming at you with a 1.85:1 anamorphic print, The Naked Mile has no significant flaws, accurate colors, good blacks, crisp details, and all the other buzzwords you're looking for on the video. It's not top-of-the-line, but you don't need that for this movie. The same goes for the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, giving you dialogue that's easy to hear without any nasty hiss or distortion. The only thing I would have liked was a bit more power for the surrounds, which really should have come alive during the big frat party. (Oh those nasty blue pill games!)
The DVD does come with an assortment of bonus items, but, honestly, all of them are watch once and forget:
• Audio Commentary: Sadly, this is the type of commentary that doesn't work for me: the large group of guys having a wee bit too much fun and talking over each other. You learn things, but it's a bit too chaotic. Featured on this track is director Joe Nussbaum (George Lucas in Love), writer Erik Lindsay (wonder where he got the main character's name from?), and actors Steve Talley, Jake Siegel, John White, and Russ Thomas.
• "The Yoga Guide to Getting Girls" (3.5 minutes): An odd little faux featurette, it's just what the title states. Guys, this has potential.
• "The Bare Essentials" (4 minutes, 15 seconds): Watch as some of the male actors get their butts waxed. (Now you really want to see this movie, don't you!)
• Deleted/Extended Scenes (6 minutes): No menu, just a few scenes played back to back. Nothing gained, nothing lost.
• Outtakes (2 minutes, 45 seconds): Nothing funny.
• "Little People, Big Stunts" (6 minutes, 45 seconds): A few minutes with the little people discussing their big roles in the movie.
• "Life on The Naked Mile" (16.5 minutes): The requisite making-of piece, which is light-hearted and fun.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
"The Naked Mile—Sponsored by Trojan"
Two minor quibbles. First, there's just a wee bit too much man ass in the movie. Second, things get just a touch too sappy at the end. This is supposed to be a mindless comedy, so we don't need any emotionalism here.
I was pleasantly and delightfully surprised by America Pie Presents The Naked Mile. Expecting the downhill slide to continue, I'm happy to say that the trend, for now at least, has been bucked and we have a legitimately entertaining movie here. It's crude and funny, a rude return to form for the American Pie franchise. Once again, we have a Stifler that once again lives up to the name. I give this one a big recommendation on the rental front, for I'm not so sure this is something that deserves full placement on your shelves.
American Pie Presents The Naked Mile is hereby found not guilty of streaking. How that's possible when there's film of people running naked in public is beyond me.
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