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Picks and Pans Review: American Pie 2

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Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Seann William Scott, Chris Klein, Eugene Levy

This sequel does its daring best (or worst, take your pick) to surpass the gross-out gags of the hugely successful 1999 original. Another vaudeville of sexual misadventures, American Pie 2 finds its randy characters, a now college-age group of pals, passing the summer at a lakeside cottage. Liked the raunchy flute joke in the first movie? A trumpet is a pain in the brass here. Remember the unappetizingly altered beverage a character slugged back in AP1? He not only slurps an equally repulsive brew in AP2, he gets doused by it. What passes for innovation involves a character accidentally gluing a delicate body part to his hand. Sophisticated comedy this is not.

The crude humor in American Pie was balanced by an unexpected, redeeming sweetness. The sequel strives to strike tender notes, but except for scenes involving the redoubtable Levy as a terminally uncool though caring dad, the moments seem half-hearted. Of the large cast, only Biggs and Hannigan, returning respectively as geeky Jim and his band-camp sweetie, manage to shade their roles. Episodic to a fault, AP2 lurches from one mishap to another, making fools of its characters and us for watching. (R)

Bottom Line: Not enough filling