We love Eugene Levy in many things, so many things that we could probably start a website on just that premise, but we won’t. We’ll just concentrate on one of the things that we really enjoy, as Jason Biggs’ father in “American Pie.”
The subtle humor that comes from this brilliant man is easy to miss amongst all the dick jokes, ball busting, and bare breast of Shannon Elizabeth. But when you do really listen to Levy you start to realize that the best scenes are the ones he is in.
Levy created a character that thinks he has figured out a cool way to talk to his son about sex. But there is still a slight uneasiness in his voice. This is trait is emphasized all the more by the awkwardness that Jason Biggs’ character feels and shows during these talks. Biggs is at that age where he finds his parents embarrassing and Levy helps to prove him correct.
Now as embarrassing as Levy’s character may seem, he has nothing but good intentions and is fairly helpful. After catching his son six inches into a pie he doesn’t do anything to make his son feel any more shame than he does. Instead he tells him that they’ll tell his mother they ate the pie. How many of us have secrets with our fathers that we keep from our mothers?
But as far as I’m concerned the two funniest scenes are first when Levy brings porno magazines to Biggs, then later when he talks of the, we’ll say differences, between masturbation and sex.
Both scenes start with a great entrance. In the former we see Biggs in his room examining condoms when there is a knock at the door. Biggs replies with “just a second” as he quickly shoves the condoms and other evidence of sexual exploration into a drawer. Once its all away he says “come in.” As Levy enters he says with a false tone of surprise “Oh Jim, you’re here.” As though he was practicing in the hallway. Levy continues, “I was just walking by your room.” Like it was a coincidence, although we quickly learn that he has a bag of dirty magazines solely for the purpose of a talk of the birds and bees. As Levy describes to his son what each magazine is trying to show, the uncomfortable ness is clearly growing in Biggs but Levy continues to fuel the fire.
Now the next great scene with Levy and Biggs has Levy looking a family portrait when Biggs enters. Levy first comments on the portrait, “Oh Jim. Hi. I was just looking at the family portrait out here. That was a fun day huh?” then with absolutely no segue he continues with “Jim, I want to talk about masturbation.”
But my favorite part of the scene is Levy describing masturbation “like banging a tennis ball against a wall. It can be fun. It can be fun, but it’s not a game.”
I always decide to watch “American Pie” because I get in the mood for a teen sex romp, but I continue to watch it because Levy is comic gold.
01 Jul 2008 Lee S. Hart