American Pie Presents Beta House (Unrated) – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Director
Andrew Waller

Starring
John White….Erik Stifler
Steve Talley….Dwight Stifler
Christopher McDonald….Mr. Stifler
Meghan Heffern….Ashley
Nic Nac….Bobby Coolidge
Sarah Power….Denise
Jake Siegel….Cooze
Eugene Levy….Mr. Levenstein

Rogue Pictures in partnership with Ned Art & Logic presents American Pie Presents Beta House. Screenplay by Erik Lindsay. Running time: 89 minutes. Unrated. Release date: December 23, 2007

The Movie

I have a theory about sex comedies. It hasn’t been lab tested or looked over by scientists, but I think I may be on to something. I’ve come to the conclusion that the number of breast shots is inversely proportionate to the amount of actual comedy in the movie. Case in point–Animal House; this is the granddaddy of raunchy, oversexed college movies. It’s one of the funniest movies of all time, but there are so few nude scenes that TBS used to show the edited version five/six times a week before it bought the syndication rights of Family Guy reruns and it’s still hilarious. A more contemporary example would be Old School. Both movies rely on clever writing and unique, funny characters to create comedy. Moreover, while they did have their share of body humor jokes, they didn’t rely on them. So, if you go by my makeshift formula, since both movies had a large amount of comedy, the number of nude scenes was small. Unfortunately, Beta House has more breast shots than most movies shown after midnight on HBO.

The plot isn’t really important for these types of movies; most of the time it’s some broad conflict that sets the stage for wacky hijinks. What makes Beta House interesting, though, is that it’s almost a reverse Revenge of the Nerds. Instead of the beleaguered nerds trying to carve out a place for themselves on campus, this time it’s the members of Geek House who are the top dogs on campus complete with stock portfolios, tons of women, and a mansion for their frat house. For no real reason the geeks decide that they need to do away with Beta House—a weak Delta House clone—because depravity and promiscuity is ruining the college. The members of Geek House show up intermittently and only really make a prolonged appearance in the end in a poorly put together frat Olympiad which will determine which house will stay and which house will go.

Most of the movie focuses on Erik Stifler, his high school buddy, Cooze, and their new friend, Bobby, as they try to complete their pledge requirements to become Betas. Strangely, most of these tasks are never shown; instead we see montages of the boys marking off each accomplishment from a huge chalkboard, such as “Have sex with a teacher.” The movie seems to have missed out on some comedy opportunities by not showing these tasks and instead focusing primarily on body humor jokes. I think this movie sets the record for semen jokes.

The problem isn’t necessarily that this is a crude movie, but that it’s only a crude movie. Those kinds of jokes can be very funny, but a lot of their impact comes from shock value, and watching Beta House for twenty minutes will desensitize you to it. When that happens, the movie has nothing to fall back on except for boob shots and sex scenes. Stronger characters might have saved Beta House, but these were one dimensional to a fault. Not even Eugene Levy—whose character, Mr. Levenstein, was my favorite out of the entire American Pie series—couldn’t brighten this movie. He just didn’t have enough to work with.

It could be that I’m being a little too hard on this movie. After all, Beta House doesn’t set out to be anything more than it is—a raunchy sex comedy. Unfortunately, there are enough good sex comedies out there that found the right balance of crass and sophisticated humor that the flaws in this movie are that much more apparent. It just wasn’t funny—in fact, it wasn’t even that much fun to watch.

The DVD

Video
The movie was presented in anamorphic widescreen in 1.85:1 ratio. There were no discernable flaws in the picture.

Audio
There were three audio tracks, English, Spanish, and French all presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The sound stayed primarily in the central channel and there was no directionality.

Extra Features
Deleted Storylines (running time 15:41)
These scenes can be watched with or without commentary. The most interesting thing about the commentary is that the people never give reasons why these storylines were cut from the movie except for a couple of vague mentions of pacing. You can hear beer tabs pulled in the background.

Deleted Scenes (running time: 4:26)
For the most part you can see why these scenes were cut from the movie.

Outtakes (running time: 3:46)

Exclusive Interview with Mr. Levenstein (running time 3:20)
Eugene Levy is one of the most prolific and funny actors working, and one complaint I had with the movie was that he was not in it enough, so this extra was a lot of fun to watch, even though it’s not his best work.

Behind the Games (running time 6:40)
This one baffles me. This basically explains the games at the end of the movie, but watching the feature already does this. This adds absolutely nothing to the movie.

Beta House—Not Just Another Slice of Pie (running time 13:42)
This features talks about how this is a direct sequel to Naked Mile and includes way too long scenes of men getting rather sensitive areas waxed for no apparent reason.

Boobie “Yule Log” (cumulative running time 7:30)
This extra shows close-ups of women’s (and one man’s) breasts bouncing and jiggling to various Christmas tunes like “Jingle Bells.” This is kind of like the end of Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, but not as classy.

Nuts about Pie (running time 3:00)
This behind the scenes look documents the casts’ habit of flicking each other’s testicles.

American Pie Presents: A Public Service Announcement (running time 1:53)
This is actually a fairly funny PSA cautioning kids against unprotected sex and binge drinking.

UGO’s Foxy Fan on the Set (running time 2:12)
This documents a visit from a woman from UGO.com who appears briefly in the movie.

“Won More Time” by God Made Me Funky Music Video
Not much to say about this except I like the band’s name.

“Luv T’Day” by God Made Me Funky Music Video
Still like the name.

30 Rock Episode “Hard Ball” (running time 21:38)
I have no idea why this episode is on here; nobody noted in the credits worked on Beta House as far as I can tell. However, this is the funniest part of this whole DVD, which is actually doing a huge disservice to 30 Rock.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for AMERICAN PIE PRESENTS BETA HOUSE (UNRATED)
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

4
THE VIDEO

7
THE AUDIO

7
THE EXTRAS

5
REPLAY VALUE

1
OVERALL
3
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

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