If someone were to ask you what the American Pie movies were missing and you answered “underage high school girls” you probably would have been put on an FBI watchlist. But that’s exactly what the filmmakers behind this new film, American Pie: Girls’ Rules, have done. Instead of following a predominantly male cast in their raunchy endeavors, it instead follows four teenage girls. It’s basically the first movie again but with female protagonists and a lot fewer characters overall.
Unfortunately, that means that it’s still basically just the first movie. American Pie is a mediocre-at-best movie that hasn’t held up very well, so doing it again but with women in the lead doesn’t instantly make it better. It has different character archetypes and the gender-swap does change things up a little bit, but the arc each character takes is still almost impossibly predictable—to the point that you’re wondering if you’re watching an American Pie movie or an after-school television program. That’s the level of story writing we’ve got going on here.
Of course, the subject matter and profanity will quickly remind you that it is indeed an American Pie movie. And one of the characters is a Stifler, although I don’t think it’s ever actually mentioned how she’s related to the family. Eugene Levy finally decided to sit one of these out, by the way, so if you were looking for his familiar face you’ll be disappointed. It’s been 8 years since the last one of these movies, so I don’t blame him.
I think the people who made American Pie: Girls’ Rules forgot that the franchise is ostensibly comedic. There are no laughs here. There are very few attempts. The characters are so one-note that the drama also falls flat. So, then, what do we have? Almost nothing. The girls get to have frank discussions about sex and sex toys, much like the frank conversations in the first movie, but now for girls. It feels more like cynical attempt to cash in on #feminism than something that actually cares about women—especially since it was written and directed by men. The kindest way to put it is that it feels inauthentic.
Is there anything positive to say about American Pie: Girls’ Rules? The acting isn’t terrible, I suppose. The leads are Madison Pettis, Lizze Broadway, Piper Curda, and Natasha Behnam, and they’re likable enough to root for and have enough chemistry for us to believe they’re all best friends. There has been some abysmal acting in American Pie spinoffs, but it’s more than passable here. They’re not given anything non-cliché to do, but that’s a scripting problem. Almost everything wrong with this movie is a scripting problem.
American Pie: Girls’ Rules is a cliché, predictable, gender-swap version of a movie that already wasn’t especially good. The changes made by flipping the genders doesn’t make it much more interesting or insightful—probably because it was still made by men—and the story is so basic that it feels like it came from a template. The acting is the only thing that’s passable. This is a movie made to use an established brand to cynically cash in on a social movement.
Conclusion: American Pie: Girls’ Rules is a bad and cynical attempt to gender-swap the first American Pie.
Recommendation: I can’t think of a reason to watch American Pie: Girls’ Rules.
- Rating - 2/102/10