Reviewed by Charlie Mihelich
“American Pie Presents: Beta House” is the sixth movie in the “American Pie” series. That’s right, number six. Like the fourth and fifth, this is a straight to DVD cash in with little relation to the actual series, hence the distinguishing “Presents.”
In “Beta House,” Erik Stiffler (apparently the cousin of Steve Stiffler and the subject of the last entry in the series, “American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile) is now a freshman in college and is pleding Beta House, his cousin Dwight’s fraternity. The Beta’s are having some trouble with a rival fraternity, the Geeks, who are trying to get the Beta’s shut down. Will the boys be able to save their fraternity, and will they all eventually have a ton of sex?
You probably know the answer to both questions, but just in case, here it is: yes. “American Pie” has always been known for its gross out gags and teenage shenanigans, but the payoff was always one graphic nude scene. There was Nadia, the lesbians, the strippers, and even the fourth one featured only one nude scene. Starting with “The Naked Mile”, the series starts to look like a “Girls Gone Wild” video, with literally tons of T&A and plenty of girls just thrilled to take their tops off. If this is what you’re in to, and you don’t have access to a broadband connection, this may be just the film for you.
The gross out gags are also taken to a whole new level, with a gratuitous scene of errant semen, female ejaculation, sheep sex, horse semen and more. The gross out factor has been upped and the creativity factor has been further dialed down, so no matter how gross whatever is on screen really is, I couldn’t help but just yawn.
I happened to be a big fan of the “American Pie” theatrical releases, especially “American Wedding.” The series kick started the careers of Shannon Elizabeth, Jason Biggs, Sean William Scott, Tara Reid and Chris Klein, and though they were very funny they contained touches of humanity. Here, starring in an “American Pie Presents” movie seems more like career suicide, and its too bad Eugene Levy (who has appeared in all six films) continues to hammer his career further into the ground by agreeing to appear in this schlock.
Steve Stiffler was an arrogant bastard, and that’s why his name has become legendary. Slapping the last name on random nobody’s does not accomplish the same feat, and the Stifflers here are nothing like the lude jock from the first three: if anything, they are more like Jim, but I guess it makes more sense that they “like to party” if they share a party guys name.
The movie pays homage to “Animal House”, “The Deer Hunter”, and “Apocalypse Now”, and each parody is more awkward than the last. “Beta House” is slightly better than the “National Lampoons Dorm Daze” movies, but only slightly, though both movies tend to believe that college students have time for all the crap these guys pull.
Honestly, it’s time to give the “Pie” series a rest. There are no redeeming qualities to “Beta House” (unless you’re into soft porn) and your money can be spent on better, funnier college movies.