A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that American Pie: Beta House is a 2007 movie that is part of the American Pie movie series. The movie has lots of profanity (including "f--k"), binge-drinking without consequences, female nudity, and countless references to sex, including bestiality and sexual acts involving defecation. There is nothing redeeming about this movie in any way, shape, or form. In a time when date rape and sexual assault are finally receiving intense scrutiny on college campuses everywhere, this movie revels in encouraging white male frat boys to have consequence-free sex of all kinds and varieties, to binge-drink until they vomit on a woman's cleavage, and to see women as little more than decorative sex objects. The only adults in the movie actively encourage this behavior. Any feeble attempt at humor has been done so many times in so many similar movies dating back to Animal House, and the sheer unoriginality of the entire thing is merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to the myriad ways in which this movie is unwatchable. A horrible movie, by any standard.
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What's the story?
Erik Stifler and Mike "Cooze" Coozeman are off to start college, driven to campus by Erik's father (Christopher McDonald), who brags of his past sexual prowess and encourages the boys to go "crush some ass." Within minutes of arriving in his dorm building, Erik walks in on potential love interest Ashley as she takes a shower in the coed bathrooms and then walks in on his roommate Bobby having sex with his girlfriend. Once they're moved in, Erik, Cooze, and Bobby pay a visit to Beta House, a fraternity known for hedonistic parties and legendary collegiate antics, whose president is Erik's cousin Dwight. They pledge the fraternity and are given a list of 50 tasks to accomplish -- tasks ranging from getting a stripper to sign their rear ends to having sex with a faculty member. As this is happening, Erik tries to go on a date with Ashley but accidentally ejaculates all over her possessions while she tries to clean up his pants after an unfortunate incident at a restaurant involving soup; and Cooze is starting to worry that his love interest, Ashley's roommate Denise, actually has a penis since she's so reluctant to have intercourse with him. Beta House has trouble of its own in the form of the rival fraternity Geek House -- a frat filled with tech geniuses who want nothing more than to see Beta House perish off the face the campus. The only way for the two rival frats to settle their dispute is through an Olympiad officiated by Beta House alumnus Noah Levenstein (Eugene Levy), a series of contests ranging from binge drinkathons, greased pig catching, and a form of Russian roulette in which horse semen is substituted for bullets. Beta House must find a way to win the Olympiad and continue their reign as the kings of the campus party scene.
Is it any good?
There is really nothing interesting, entertaining, or redeeming about American Pie: Beta House. Any attempt at humor has been done in one form or another in so many ways since 1977's Animal House that even the most casual familiarity with party-centric college movies will have the viewer thinking at least five moves ahead before the predictable-enough punch line involving either walking in on people in compromising positions or the expulsion of various bodily fluids. Furthermore, the obvious and appalling takeaway from this movie -- especially in light of date rape and sexual assaults on our nation's campuses -- is that women are little more than attractive objects to try to have sex with.
Of course, as part of a franchise that had worn out its welcome by the time this sequel was released in 2007, one is supposed to regard this as "mindless entertainment," a not-too-bright foray into frat-boy fantasies of "hot chicks" and "awesome parties" and vast rivers of alcohol. No one expects a cinematic masterpiece, but one would expect, at the very least, a comedy to be at least a little bit funny and scenes of "wild" college parties and fraternity hijinks not to be so boring and played-out. It's a tedious movie with no worthwhile reason to exist.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about college-themed party movies. How do movies such as these accurately reflect what occurs on college campuses, and in what ways does it exaggerate what goes on?
How are women represented in this movie?
Could a college-themed party comedy movie be made that does not resort to celebrating binge-drinking, objectifying women, presenting a college student's "coming of age" as being little more than sex for the sake of sex, and drinking alcohol until vomiting? Why, or why not?
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