It's pie Jim but not as we know it
Despite enjoying the original "American Pie" movie and the subsequent sequels it has to be said that "American Pie Presents Band Camp" is not a patch on them and although many consider it to be a fourth movie in the "American Pie" series it is actually the start of a branch off series called "American Pie Presents" which is more akin to "National Lampoon's" rather than "American Pie". Although "American Pie Presents Band Camp" is not as good as the originals it's not terrible, in fact it's quite sweet in places, vulgar in others and just takes a bit of getting use to that it is not a proper continuation of the original successful franchise.
When Steve Stifler's younger brother Matt (Tad Hilgenbrink) is caught red handed creating mayhem with the school band's instruments, guidance counsellor Sherman (Chris Owen - Van Wilder: Party Liaison) decides that it is the perfect opportunity to get his own back on the Stifler family and gives Matt no option but to attend Tall Oaks Summer Band camp with all those he thinks are band geeks or be expelled. But Matt spots an opportunity to emulate his Steve's success as a Porn producer and sets about creating an undercover porn flick featuring the band geek's shower activities. Except he didn't account on falling for the Elyse (Arielle Kebbel - Reeker) leader of the school band as well as the advice from Mr Levenstein (Eugene Levy - American Pie: The Wedding) who is deputising as the camp counsellor for Jim and Michelle.
The thing with "American Pie Presents Band Camp" is that you watch it expecting it to continue on from "American Pie: The Wedding" both in storyline, characters and humour but sadly it doesn't. Most of those characters which we have come to love are absent in this movie, the humour is much tamer and a little bit more child like plus it doesn't really follow on from where we left off, instead branching off in a new direction with new characters. These are the reasons why "American Pie Presents Band Camp" is often slammed by critics and reviewers and there is a certain amount of fairness in their criticisms.
This time around the storyline is much weaker, more akin to what you would expect from a traditional romantic comedy with the main characters falling in and out of love etc etc. All pretty much predictable and gives cause for "American Pie Presents Band Camp" to feel a lot sweeter than the raucous "American Pie" movies. But being an "American Pie" the storyline still revolves around disastrous sexual encounters, gross out humour and questionable comedy. Except everything is a lot tamer, the gross out comedy is nowhere as near offensive and a lot more humour seems to revolve around innuendo rather than actual visual comedy. At times it felt like that "American Pie Presents Band Camp" was being made to target a new younger audience than those who had grown up watching the likes of Jim, Finch and Nadia in the original "American Pie" movies.
The storyline isn't helped by the fact we are introduced to so many new characters most of which try too hard to replicate those from the original series. In the main role is Tad Hilgenbrink who plays Steve Stifler's younger brother Matt, obviously many of the vulgar characteristics of Steve rubs off on Matt but he just doesn't have that sadistic side to carry them off properly. Plus they have tried to combine the clumsiness of Jim into the character and this makes it completely wrong. Opposite Tad is Arielle Kebbel who plays Elyse the love interest and supposedly a major band geek yet doesn't come over geeky at all rather a little too het up. The thing is although I didn't really like the new characters, and there are a few of them, I did quite like the predictable romance between Matt and Elyse as the pairing worked surprisingly well.
Thankfully they did try to bring back a couple of characters including a bit part for Chris Owen as Sherman and also more importantly a bigger role for Eugene Levy as Mr. Levenstein. Eugene Levy is really what makes "American Pie Presents Band Camp" bearable for those who preferred the originals as he continues to give his awkward fatherly advice to those around him in particular Matt as he struggles to encompass all that is good about Band Camp even when he does end up getting a certain part of his body stuck in an oboe, a scene which almost mimics the more superior trumpet scene from "American Pie 2".
What this all boils down to is that basically "American Pie Presents Band Camp" is disappointing especially for those who were hoping for a decent fourth instalment of the original "American Pie" franchise, but it's not terrible. It is a lot tamer and seems to target a brand new audience but does have a few laughs and memorable scenes including a terribly sweet but amusing climax. Plus it has Eugene Levy who is the real star of the movie.