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Steve Rash
Eugene Levy, Tad Hilgenbrink, Arielle Kebbel, Jason Earles, Tara Killian
Writing Credits:
Adam Herz (characters), Brad Riddell

This one time ... at band camp ...

Get ready for the wildest, most hilarious slice of American Pie ever! This time around, the bad-boy antics of Stifler's younger brother Matt get him sentenced to a summer at Band Camp! Join the fun as the 'Stiffmeister' legend reaches outrageous new heights with hot camp counselors, ultra-steamy hidden cameras and a stimulating encounter with a certain musical instrument. Co-starring Jim's Dad, Eugene Levy, and an irresistible cast including a pair of Playmates, it's a Pie-style party you'll never forget.

Box Office:
$10 million.

Rated NR

Widescreen 1.78:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1

Runtime: 95 min.
Price: $26.98
Release Date: 12/26/2005

• Outtakes
• Deleted Scenes
• “Band Camp Dirty Diary”
• “Poolside with Band Camp Girls”
• “Band Camp’s Dirty Secrets”
• “Rover Cam Uncut!”
• “Band Camp Girls: The Music Video”
• Unrated Love Sessions with Ginger Lynn
• Previews


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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American Pie Presents Band Camp: Unrated (2005)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 26, 2005)

Six years ago, American Pie emerged as a sleeper hit in the summer of 1999. Actually, that was a great season for out of nowhere successes, as it also featured surprises like The Sixth Sense and The Blair Witch Project.

Of those three, only Pie launched a franchise. 2001’s American Pie 2 actually out-grossed the original. While Pie made $101 million, its sequel took in $145 million. 2003’s American Wedding declined from that peak, but its $104 million still topped the first movie.

Although the suits at Universal decided not to pursue more theatrical Pie flicks, Wedding didn’t mark the end of the franchise. We get a new chapter with the 2005 straight-to-video film American Pie Presents Band Camp. This movie focuses on Stifler’s younger brother Matt (Tad Hilgenbrink). Just like Steve, Matt is a sex-obsessed obnoxious jerk who rubs almost everyone the wrong way.

At least he doesn’t lack for self-confidence, and one of his pranks gets him in trouble with school counselor Chuck Sherman (Chris Owen). “The Shermanator” from the original flick, he disliked the elder Stifler and takes out his disdain on Matt. Instead of expulsion, Sherman enacts an even more terrible punishment: Matt must spend a summer at band camp.

Matt decides to make the most of this when he remembers tales of wild band geek sex. He plans to videotape these shenanigans and make money off videos. At the camp, he’s reunited with Elyse (Ariel Kebbel), a childhood friend who he shunned as he grew older. Neither of them cares for each other, and their initial interactions are negative.

Matt is up to his old tricks, and his methods earn him many enemies. Among them are arrogant rich kid Brandon Vandecamp (Matt Barr), and the pair snipe at each other throughout the film. After a rough start, Matt takes the advice of the conflict resolution counselor, Jim’s dad (Eugene Levy) and starts to make friends. This leads inevitably to romance with Elyse and various complications as we lurch toward the requisite happy ending.

Many movie franchises decline in quality as they progress, but Pie is notable due to the rapidity of its fall. For comparison, I can only think of the four Lethal Weapon flicks. The first one was good, but the second one significantly worse, the third one crummier than that, and the fourth one nearly unwatchable.

That’s the situation we greet with the abysmal Band Camp. Back when I reviewed Pie 2, I stated that “Stifler would look ridiculous if they tried to turn him into a real human being.” That kind of character works as a secondary role for laughs. The Pie franchise made Stifler less effective in its sequels because it relied too much on him. Stifler works in small doses and can’t carry a film on his own.

Camp makes the situation even worse because it does exactly what I feared when I reviewed Pie 2: it tries to make Stifler a full-fledged person and not just a smutty joke. Matt may not be Steve, but as depicted in the film, they’re really the same character. Hilgenbrink channels Seann William Scott with a very accurate impression. That doesn’t make Hilgenbrink one-tenth as funny as Scott, but at least he makes the kid look and sound like a Stifler.

However, Matt changes stripes mid-movie and indeed attempts to become a real boy. He doesn’t totally lose his obnoxiousness, but the film tries to have him grow and learn. Big mistake! The shift occurs so rapidly that it never appears believable, and the whole thing comes across as insipid and insincere. During the first act, Matt is even more unbearably grating than Steve ever was, but we’re supposed to accept a sudden change of heart?

Perhaps I could accept this predictable plot device if the movie did anything else in a competent manner. Unfortunately, it’s nothing more than the same reheated shtick. We see lots of disgusting situations and puerile moments. Not a single one of them registers as funny. The film even rips off a lame source like Not Another Teen Movie when it uses a wacky Asian kid who talks like a gangsta. That wasn’t amusing in Teen, and it doesn’t work any better here.

2005 should go down as the year in which Eugene Levy officially changed his name to “Do Anything For a Buck”. He and Owen are the only actors who also appeared in the original Pie. (Owen reprised his role in Pie 2, while Levy has shown up in all four flicks.) In addition to Camp, Levy’s 2005 included The Man and Cheaper By the Dozen 2. All that after a 2004 with New York Minute and a 2003 with Dumb and Dumberer and Bringing Down the House. Only A Mighty Wind redeems Levy in this run of dreck.

I hate to badmouth Levy. I’ve often mentioned my long-term affection for SCTV, and it pains me to see one of its stars follow this path. However, I can’t ignore the obvious: Levy will work in any movie for which he gets a paycheck.

That’s the only conclusion to be drawn from his appearance in Camp. There’s no logical reason for Jim’s dad to work at the band camp. The film offers a shoddy excuse for this, but it doesn’t make any sense. The flick gives the character little to do, so I suppose he’s there simply to act as a connection to the prior movies.

If there’s a fifth Pie film, I hope Levy will come to his senses and decline to appear in it. What I hope most, though, is that there’s no fifth Pie flick. Pie 2 and American Wedding were weak movies, and American Pie Presents Band Camp is even worse. This is a crass, unoriginal and unpleasant experience.

The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus C-

American Pie Presents Band Camp appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. A few issues cropped up here, but the presentation usually seemed satisfying.

For the most part, sharpness looked good. Occasionally the film appeared a little soft and indistinct. However, those examples cropped up infrequently, as the majority of the flick was reasonably concise. I saw no problems with jagged edges or shimmering, and only a little light edge enhancement appeared. As for source flaws, a couple of specks were the sole defects on display.

With its outdoors summer setting, Camp boasted a lively palette. The colors consistently looked solid. The DVD provided bright, clear hues that always were pleasing. Blacks were acceptably deep and dense, but shadows seemed a little heavy. Low-light shots were a bit too dark. Nonetheless, the concerns never turned major, and this was a fine transfer.

Similar thoughts greeted the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Band Camp. 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. However, the band performance sequences added a little more zest than usual, and they filled out the spectrum well. Just don’t expect War of the Worlds-type material from this restrained mix.

No issues with audio quality occurred. Speech was consistently distinct and concise, and I detected no problems with edginess or intelligibility. Effects played a minor role and never taxed the system. They displayed decent accuracy, though. Music was a more prominent participant. The track boasted good life and definition to the various tunes, as those showed solid clarity and depth. This was an unexceptional soundtrack, but it was good for this sort of film.

A mix of extras round out this DVD. We start with four minutes and 1 seconds of Outtakes. It includes nothing more than the standard goof-ups and giggles.

20 Deleted Scenes appear. Don’t get too excited, though, as the whole set lasts only 11 minutes and 49 seconds. Many of the cut pieces offer short trims from existing shots. Others offer a little more exposition, particularly regarding plot elements from the third act. These flesh out the story slightly but don’t add much.

A behind the scenes feature with a smutty name, Band Camp Dirty Diary runs 17 minutes and 22 seconds. It consists of material from the set, and we also hear from actors Tad Hilgenbrink, Arielle Kebbel, Matt Barr, Jun Hee Lee, Chris Owen, Rachel Veltri, Crystle Lightning, Omar Benson Miller, Dossett March, Ginger Lynn Allen, and Jason Earles, writer Brad Riddell and prop master John Brunot. We find a few decent insights such as how they created the oboe that gets stuck to Matt’s unit, but mostly this is a load of obnoxious silliness. The cast all act like morons and we learn little about the production.

Another piece with a provocative title, Poolside with Band Camp Girls goes for three minutes. Earles acts in character as Ernie to chat with Veltri and actor Angela Little. He asks inane questions and receives dopey answers. The women look good in their bikinis, but there’s no value to this short otherwise.

More goofiness appears in the five-minute and 35-second Band Camp’s Dirty Secrets. Veltri and Little lead us around the set and tell us a little about the production. It’s more interesting than the prior clips but not by much.

The promise of hot footage comes with Rover Cam Uncut!. However, that’s not what we get. The 14-minute and 38-second program instead provides “hidden” in-character footage of secondary participants like Brandon and Clare. It’s no worse than the material in the movie, but it’s no better, and that’s a bad thing.

Will we finally find something interesting via Band Camp Girls: The Music Video? Not really. The 85-second clip shows the scantily-clad babes as they strut to the tune of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back”. There’s no nudity and it’s only marginally entertaining.

In Unrated Love Lessons with Ginger Lynn, we discover a 10-minute and 55-second “tutorial”. Actor Ginger Lynn Allen acts in character to show “Ernie” how to please a woman. It’s just as lame as it sounds.

The DVD opens with some ads. We get promos for 40-Year-Old Virgin, Serenity, Red Eye, and Raw.

Although the original American Pie was endearing and amusing, each sequel has become less and less enjoyable. Band Camp represents the absolute nadir of the series. It presents nothing creative or amusing, as it simply exploits crassness without any redeeming qualities. The DVD offers decent picture and sound. While the set includes a set of extras that look substantial, in truth they’re almost all wastes of time. The same goes for Camp. It’s a genuinely terrible film and one to avoid.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.3132 Stars Number of Votes: 83
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