Sex comedy franchise American Pie delivers its latest franchise entry in Universal Studios Home Entertainment American Pie Presents: Girls Rule. Director Mike Elliot helms the ninth film in the franchise working from a script by writers Blayne Weaver and David H. Steinberg. Taking place once again at West Michigan’s East Great Falls High, American Pie Presents: Girls Rule does a gender swap for our quadrant of leads.
American Pie Presents: Girls Rule follows lifelong friends Annie (Madison Pettis), Kayla (Piper Curda), Michelle (Natasha Benham), and Stephanie Stiffler (Lizze Broadway) deciding to harness their girl power and band together to get what they want in their last year of high school. However, things take an unexpected turn when transfer student Grant (Darren Barnet) arrives, catching two of the girls’ eyes. The friends then find themselves competing for Grant’s affection, with assistance from unlikely sources, learning that love can be found in unexpected places.
One of the first things I noticed about the film’s creative team is screenwriter David H. Steinberg returning to the franchise for his third film. Steinberg previously wrote American Pie 2 and the franchise’s last entry, Book of Love. It’s apparent that Steinberg has respect for the franchise and knows what to do with his characters.
With co-writer Blayne Weaver, the duo craft a heartfelt film about the last year of high school where you find yourself, while staying loyal to the American Pie brand. While sex plays a factor in the film’s plot, outside of some hookup scenes for the character Kayla and a sex shop trip, the film is pretty tame. So, if you’re expecting a nude scene on par with Shannon Elizabeth’s iconic scene from the first film, prepare for a letdown, as there is no nudity in this movie.
I can recall seeing the film trailer and expecting Stephanie Stiffler (Lizze Broadway) to just do a modern-day rehash of Seann William Scott’s performance. Instead, Broadway makes the character her own. While she does drop an occasional F-bomb and knows how to party, she’s still a strong young woman. There were also likable qualities in the characters of Annie (Madison Pettis), Kayla (Piper Curda), and Michelle (Natasha Benham).
Annie is the friend we all had in high school who was still stuck on a boyfriend who just graduated. At the same time, Kayla is the friend dealing with a trash ex. Michelle (Natasha Benham) is a loveable overachiever and our male lead Grant (Darren Barnet), also provides a quality acting job. I initially expected the script to paint Grant as some lothario who plays the girls against each other for his own devious intentions. However, he’s actually an all-around nice guy.
Outside of Sara Rue as Grant’s mom and Ed Quinn as Annie’s dad, there isn’t really an arch for any of the adult characters. In the previous direct to DVD sequels, the always enjoyable Eugene Levy returned as Jim’s dad. Thankfully the character doesn’t make an appearance here as it may have been a distraction.
In terms of direction, Mike Elliot keeps the film moving along at a quick ninety-five minutes. Elliot, who previously helmed direct to DVD sequels for other Universal franchises such as Beethoven, Blue Crush, and The Scorpion King, delivers a pleasantly enjoyable time waster.
Outside of some predictable story angles, my only complaint about the film is there aren’t any real laugh out loud moments. Thankfully the chemistry between our four female leads more than make up for the lack of comedic hijinks.
Final Grade B
American Pie Presents: Girls Rule will be available to rent and buy on October 5th.