American Pie Presents: Beta House (2007) / Comedy
MPAA Rated: R for pervasive strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, language and excessive drinking
Running time: 86 min.
Cast: John White, Steve Talley, Bradford Anderson, Meghan Heffern, Jake Siegel, Nic Nac, Eugene Levy, Sarah Power, Christine Barger, Christopher McDonald
Director: Andrew Waller
Screenplay: Erik Lindsay
American Pie Presents: Beta House represents the sixth film in the American Pie series, and here is a statement that says quite a bit: it's the worst of the bunch. By this point in the series, the makers of the films aren't even bothering trying to have a sweet side to any of the sexual relationships. Instead, it's full throttle with the crude, lewd and nude, as the barrage of unrelenting sexual perversity is played up for maximum barf-inducing moments without any redeeming qualities whatsoever. Bestiality, projectile vomiting, female ejaculation, and plenty more are what you'll actually see in place of real wit. In place of clever writing come constant mentioning of sexual perversities for no other reason than to mention them -- golden showers, Cleveland Steamers, dirty Sanchez, and sundry other scatological raunch terms are on the proverbial menu, pushing the limits of taste as far as it can go without actually having to cast Dustin 'Skreech' Diamond in a supporting role.
Although the previous two American Pie spin-offs had nothing to do with one another, and barely adhered to the original series, Beta House is actually a sequel of sorts to the previous effort, The Naked Mile, with the two Stifler brothers college, with young, naive Erik (White, She's Too Young) pledging to the Beta House where his older perv brother, Dwight (Talley, One Way to Valhalla), is a leading member. He and the other potential brothers must perform a list of 50 heinous acts before the semester is over in order to get into the fraternity, bedding the babes and embarrassing the rival frat houses whenever possible. However, in their path is the Geek fraternity, who want nothing more than to shut down the Beta House so that they can have the honor, the glory and all of the hot babe action to themselves.
Fans of the original American Pie trilogy may be somewhat pleased that Eugene Levy (For Your Consideration, Over the Hedge) takes a more substantial role here playing the same dopey character that delivered big laughs in the first film. Except there aren't any big laughs here, even from Levy's mouth, as one can only wonder what Levy wouldn't do for an easy paycheck. I would say that it's pretty obvious that he doesn't read the scripts before consenting to appear, but then I can't say for certain that a finished script exists before they bother to roll film with such a sophomoric entry like this. I'm pretty sure that every conceivable bodily emission is depicted or discussed in detail, and these sorts of things constitute the bulk of the run time. What's left? Excuses to see the plethora of bimbo starlets topless, letting their plastic parts get some much needed air while we wait for another scene to repeat the same formula.
Beta House, as a standalone film, isn't much more than a completely raunchy regurgitation of story elements found in other frat comedies, such as Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds. However, when one thinks about those films, it is the cast charisma and quality writing that kept those a step above others to tread the oft-tread path, delivering a handful of gags that were funny, not because they made us retch from crudeness or excited from nudity, but because they were done with a bit of creativity.
With Beta House, we have no creativity whatsoever, with screenwriter Lindsay and director Waller merely checking the standard boxes of audience expectations, filling up enough of what we expect to provide an adequate feature length experience. Sex, beer, body fluids, sex, beer, body fluids -- if there were a script, it probably just repeated that phrase over and over for 50 pages. I guess some people might consider a spoof on the Russian roulette scene from The Deer Hunter creative, whereby the two heads of the rival frats take turns pulling the trigger of a sport gun full of horse semen in their mouths until one finally gets his throat blasted with the gooey concoction. If that's you're idea of "creative juices", I guess there may be someone out there to enjoy this after all.
-- Follows American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile. Spin-off of the American Pie trilogy: American Pie, American Pie 2, and American Wedding, Also in the series: American Pie: Band Camp.
©2007 Vince Leo