June 29th, 2003
American Pie 2 (2001)
American Pie (1999)
The young screenwriter responsible for the crass but undeniably charming 1999 teen romp "American Pie", Adam Herz went from production assistant to well-paid scripter when he brought to fruition his idea to revisit the sex comedy genre so popular in his youth for today's audience. Mixing the "can you top this?" gross-out nerviness so popular in "There's Something About Mary" (1998) with an unexpected old-fashioned romanticism, Herz's treatment for "American Pie" was written over his winter ski vacation in January of 1998 and within months was in production. Having hooked up with screenwriting agents Warren Zide and Chris Bender after impressing them with risk-taking sitcom spec scripts, he was encouraged by his representation to take the feature plunge. Goaded to be his most outrageous, Herz turned in a screenplay that was at once shockingly vulgar and heartwarmingly real. An obvious affection for his multifaceted characters (including a group of fully-realized, empowered females rarely seen in the genre) helped sell the Paul and Chris Weitz-directed film as more than just your average hormone fest thanks to a decided lack of mean-spiritedness and an abundance of heart. Impressive returns at the box office proved that audiences were ready for such a film, even when its cast was comprised mainly of unknowns.
"American Pie" helped to launch the careers of stars Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Seann William Scott and Mena Suvari, and when the cast reconvened for "American Pie 2" in 2001, the film's status as a hit sequel seemed guaranteed. Again pushing the bounds of taste and going through various trials with the MPAA ratings board to get an R, Herz's and the Weitz's efforts were similarly seedy and sweet, though not quite as compelling as the original. Claiming even he expected better from his sequel script, Herz agreed to tackle the screenwriting chores on the third instalment, "American Wedding" (2003) to close the book on the characters.
With feature projects lined up including a modernized retread of the old "Smokey and the Bandit" car chase comedies in development, he was poised to become a sought-after scripter while a $2 million deal with Universal would offer him the chance to direct as well. The summer-aired sitcom "Go Fish" (NBC, 2001) marked his first foray into television. As the series' creator, writer and executive consultant, Herz painted a portrait of Andy 'Fish' Troutner (Kieran Culkin), a lovelorn ninth grader dealing with the perils of high school and his very eccentric parents (Joe Flaherty and Molly Cheek).