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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
John Putch
Cast:
Eugene Levy, Dustin Diamond, C. Thomas Howell, Christopher Knight, Tim Matheson, Steve Railsback, Melanie Papalia, Robert Romanus, Kevin Federline
Writing Credits:
: David H. Steinberg, Adam Herz (characters)

Synopsis:
When three East Great Falls High buddies accidentally discover the legendary “Book of Love,” penned by some of their school’s alumni, they embark on a hilariously outrageous quest to lose their virginity with the girls of their dreams. Join Jim’s Dad (Eugene Levy) and this lovable and outrageous group of guys in this raucous comedy full of shocking and heartwarming fun!

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.78:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French

Runtime: 92 min. (rated version)
94 min. (unrated version)
Price: $36.98
Release Date: 12/22/2009

Bonus:
• Both Rated and Unrated Versions of the Film
• Deleted Scenes
• Gag Reel
• “From the Set” Snippets
• “On the Set of American Pie Presents: The Book of Love Featurette
• “Just the Tips: The Love Manual” Featurette
American Pie Trivia
• “American Pie-cons”


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


American Pie Presents The Book Of Love: Unrated [Blu-Ray] (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 15, 2009)

After a break in 2008, the direct-to-video American Pie Presents franchise returns with the series’ fourth entry, 2009’s The Book of Love. We head to East Great Falls High School to meet three students who’re desperate to lose their virginity. First comes Rob (Bug Hall), a nice guy with an apparently unrequited crush on classmate Heidi (Beth Behrs).

Nathan (Kevin Horton) is in a relationship with Dana (Melania Papalia), but she’s a born-again virgin; although she’s already had sex with six guys, she declares that she won’t do it again until marriage. Finally, chubby nerd Lube (Brandon Hardesty) uses silly schemes to approach girls; none of these go anywhere, though he hopes to eventually snag cheerleader Ashley (Jennifer Holland).

While on detention duty in the library, Rob discovers a tome called “The Bible”, but it doesn’t document the adventures of Jesus and his pals. This book collects knowledge from decades of East Great Falls students and gives Rob and the guys tips on how to finally score with the ladies. They use its contents in their attempts to finally break their various cherries.

Wow – that plot sounds oddly familiar, doesn’t it? Hmm… where have I seen that story? I don’t know – maybe a little film called American Pie?

While Book doesn’t provide a literal remake of the original Pie, it comes awfully close. Though this has never been a series high on creative inspiration, it seems particularly lame that the new film so closely hews to the first flick’s tale. Surely the writers could’ve come up with something a little different; even a story as tired as a spring break road trip or whatever would feel more inventive than this basic rehash of the first film.

It’s hard to critique Book just because it’s so damned anonymous. None of the performers remotely make an impact other than to depress the viewer, mainly because we find plenty of established actors who apparently were desperate for a paycheck. Poor Rosanna Arquette – what’d she do to deserve this fate?

Every time I review a Pie flick, I bemoan the continued presence of Eugene Levy. Due to his work on SCTV, he remains a comedy hero to me, but each new Pie does a little more to chip away at that legacy. Maybe Levy thinks these are quality projects, or maybe he just really wants the money. Whatever the case, I find myself depressed when I see him go through the motions yet again as Jim’s dad.

Among the young actors new to Pie, none of them stand out in a positive way. The girls are pretty, and the guys are mostly acceptable, but I can’t think of a single impressive performance in the bunch.

I can easily find a bad turn, however, as John Patrick Jordan’s take on Stifler is a downright embarrassment. Initially I hoped that the Pie franchise would retire Stifler; we’ve not seen Steve since 2003’s American Wedding, but the direct-to-video flicks have trotted out a line of similarly crass/horny relatives.

This effort gives us… crud, what is the new Stifler’s first name? I’ve already forgotten, probably because it doesn’t matter. He’s not supposed to literally be the same character from the first Pie, but he might as well be; the movie does nothing to change the role.

None of the post Seann William Scott Stiflers have been good, but Jordan sets a new low. He plays the role with a bizarre form of psychotic glee; his annoying high-pitched giggle permeates the film and makes him genuinely unpleasant to watch. Scott was able to walk a fine line with his Stifler; the character was loathsome but still funny, as Scott’s smirking self-absorption was amusing. Jordan just pulls off the “loathsome” part; there’s no charm or humor to be taken from his work.

Among the Pie Presents flicks, Book of Love doesn’t seem quite as crass or disgusting; it still has those moments, but they don’t seem a dominant. Unfortunately, it’s just not remotely amusing or interesting. With predictable scenarios, forgettable characters and a warmed-over plot, it’s another poor entry in the series.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/Audio B-/ Bonus C

American Pie Presents: The Book of Love appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. While not a killer transfer, the visuals looked fine.

Sharpness usually appeared good. The film didn’t exhibit killed definition, but it showed generally good clarity and accuracy. While I would’ve liked a bit more snap, it still offered nice delineation. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement was absent. Source flaws also failed to appear in this clean presentation.

Colors were fine. The hues appeared reasonably vivid but could come across as a little flat at times. Overall, the tones seemed nice but not especially dynamic. Blacks were reasonably deep and tight, but shadows tended to be a little thick. To be honest, my complaints tended toward the nit-pick category; the transfer never became scintillating, but it was satisfying.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Book, it seemed fairly ordinary. Examine the audio of pretty much every other comedy of this sort and you’ll know what to expect from the soundfield. It was a front-heavy affair that usually didn’t offer much more than general ambience. Music filled out the surrounds, and some environmental information added a little pizzazz. Just don’t expect action-movie material from this restrained mix.

Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed intelligible and natural, without edginess. Music boasted good clarity and range, while effects worked about the same way. Those elements came across accurate and concise, though they didn’t have a ton to do. This was an acceptable “B-“ soundtrack.

When we shift to extras, we open with a collection of clips under From the Set. This area includes 10 segments that run a total of 19 minutes, 23 seconds. These mix alternate takes/lines with some sequences that are close to deleted scenes – close enough that I’m not sure how they’re different from deleted scenes. Nothing amusing happens here, but you will find a fair amount of nudity. The biggest negative? “From the Set” and the subsequent “Deleted Scenes” aren’t presented high-def, so their resolution isn’t very good. Boo!

17 Deleted Scenes last a total of 11 minutes, 21 seconds. Given the brevity of the snippets, you shouldn’t expect much from them. They’re mostly small tidbits that add smuttiness to an already tawdry film. Other than some decent nudity, they’re forgettable

Next comes a three-minute, 59-second Gag Reel. It consists of the usual goofs and giggles. Nothing entertaining pops up here.

The disc includes both the film’s rated and unrated versions. The former lasts 1:31:31, while the latter goes for 1:33:34. I guess it’s nice that the Blu-ray includes both options, though I can’t imagine anyone will bother with the “rated” cut. It’s not like it represents the movie’s theatrical vision, and raunchy movies like this usually are most appealing in their unrated editions.

A few featurettes follow. On the Set of American Pie Presents: The Book of Love goes for eight minutes, seven seconds as it presents remarks from director John Putch, executive producer Mike Elliott, prop master Kevin Santarossa, and actors John Patrick Jordan, Eugene Levy, Kevin Horton, Brandon Hardesty, Bug Hall, Melania Papalia, Beth Behrs, and Louisa Lytton. We find some notes about the cast, the sandwich-boffing scene and some fantasy sequences, and other notes from the set. The content remains fluffy and insubstantial, so don’t expect to learn much.

Just the Tips: The Love Manual runs five minutes, 50 seconds, and includes notes from Hall, Behrs, Papalia, Lytton, Jordan, Levy, Santarossa, and actors Kristy Moller, Tim Matheson, Christopher Knight, C. Thomas Howell, Kevin Federline, Dustin Diamond, Robert Romanus, Edwin Perez, and Bret Michaels. They give us tips on relationships, love and sex. I don’t know how much value these have, but it’s moderately interesting to hear the thoughts on the subjects.

American Pie Trivia runs eight minutes, 57 seconds and shows cast/crew attempts to answer questions about the series. Horton wanders the set and queries folks like Putch, Levy, Hall, Michaels, 1st AD Allan Harmon, unit photographer Chris Helcermanas-Benge, locations manager Marijke Richman, unit publicist Prudence Emery, locations PA Rob Millar, and actor Keana Iwaskow. It’s a mildly fun test.

Finally, we find American Pie-cons goes for six minutes, 52 seconds and discusses the film’s cameos. We hear from Hall, Hardesty, Putch, Knight, Diamond, Horton, Behrs, Perez, Matheson, Romanus, Federline, Howell, Michaels, associate producer Greg Holstein and actor Curtis Armstrong. We get reminders where we’ve seen these actors and hear their thoughts about the flick. It’s harmless but not very interesting.

Because the prior direct-to-video sequels were awful, I can’t say that American Pie Presents: The Book of Love disappoints. However, this doesn’t mean it’s any good. The movie lacks even rudimentary entertainment value and just throws out one lame gag after another. The Blu-ray provides good picture and audio along with some minor extras. I have no complaints about this release, but the movie itself is pretty awful.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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