This post is part two in a series on the American Pie spin-offs. Click here to read part one: Sex as Spectacle.
The year after Band Camp (2005) came out, Rogue Pictures released The Naked Mile (2006). Along with a new cast and crew, there were some major changes. First off, the Stifler character would be seen as a role model rather than as jerk who barely got invited anywhere. The films would also no longer center around any character who appeared in the original set of movies. The filmmakers also swapped out the main series’ California locations for Canada. On top of that, the studio brought in some younger filmmakers to produce the films.
With The Naked Mile, the filmmakers decided to build the movie around the greatness of masculinity. The film views the female characters based on how they validate a male character’s sexual advances.
The Erik Lindsay Formula
The next two films would come from writer (and later co-producer) Erik Lindsay. While Lindsay did not direct the productions, he is responsible for the main storylines.
The Erik Lindsay films focused on Erik Stifler (Canadian actor John White), the “nice guy” cousin of the Stiflers. A sexually inexperienced high school student, Erik’s misadventures focused on him going to a Michigan university. There he would join the Betas, a fraternity run by his party animal cousin Dwight (Steven Talley). In the fraternity, Erik would compete in athletic events against a wealthy stealth fraternity. The fraternity seems harmless on the outside, but poses a threat to the Beta’s very existence.
In the Erik Lindsay films, the main Romantic storyline goes something like this:
- At the beginning of the film, the repressed Erik has not ejaculated or had sex in a while.
- He meets a new young lady about his age. They like each other and start going out.
- The young lady tries to initiate sex, but it fails when a secondary character walks in on them.
- Erik goes on various adventures that will help him win over the lady.
- After his adventures, Erik makes a grand romantic gesture that leads to the couple consummating their relationship.
In The Naked Mile, this is the main plot of the movie. In its sequel, Beta House (2007), the romantic storyline takes a backseat to the hijinks of the lead characters.
The Naked Mile
The primary plot of The Naked Mile revolves around Erik and his girlfriend Tracy (Jessy Schram). A virgin, Erik wants to lose his virginity to the prudish Tracy. Erik wants to have sex, but Tracy does not. When Tracy finally gives in, everything goes horribly wrong, leading to Tracy to call off any future sexual encounters based on “a sign from above.” However, Tracy gives Erik a guilt free pass to act as debaucherously at a weekend college visit without any consequences. She hopes this will get it out of his system. Unfortunately, this is the weekend of the Naked Mile, which is a race across campus in the altogether.
There, Erik is tempted by Brandy (Candace Kroslak), a college student and former bartender who likes virgins. Will Erik choose to lose it to the exciting Brandy or the pure Tracy?
The World of the Film
In the film, there are two worlds: the normal suburbs and the heightened college experience.
The suburbs are largely considered a boring repressed area. Nothing much happens there. Besides Tracy and her friends, there are two other female characters in the suburbs: Erik’s mother (Maria Ricossa) and grandmother (Jessica Booker). Neither of them have names. The Mother is an overprotective domesticated homemaker who wants her son to stay close to home. The Grandmother dies pretty quickly as part of the first set piece. From what we see of her, the film presents her as difficult.
In terms of plot, both serve the same purpose: to repress Erik’s sexual urges. Before the movie even begins, the Mother does this by restricting his access to porn. This leads to a series of events that accidentally leads to his Grandma’s death. His parents ground him for inadvertently causing her death, making it harder for him to have sex.
In contrast, the Erik Lindsay series presents college less as a place for higher learning and more as a non-stop party. Unlike the original series, The Naked Mile celebrates partying.
With this change, the filmmakers also adds more nudity (especially female nudity). In the main series and Band Camp, the nudity is tamer. The films included a few scenes of nudity. In The Naked Mile, it’s spread out over the whole movie. A primary concern with shooting the actual Naked Mile was making sure not to showcase the frontal nudity of the runners. The IGN review says, “what’s most important to consumers of this disc is that the boobs come through crisp and clear.”
The primary conflict of this movie comes from this clashing of cultures. The overly protective suburbs represent the character’s repressed lifestyle, while college represents a freedom. When Erik’s friend Cooze (Jake Siegel) tries a pick-up line in high school, he gets kneed in the groin. When he tries it in college, the women laugh and have a good time.
Eugene Levy’s Noah Levenstein appears in a few scenes in the movie. In the movie, he’s sort of a two-faced figure. He seems like a mild-mannered figure in the normal world, but the university has labeled him “Big Bad Noah Levenstein” for his behavior on campus.
In the real world, he talks to Tracy about the guilt free pass outside of a yoga studio. He says it’s okay until he hears that she gave him the guilt free pass to the Naked Mile. He says that the Naked Mile is insane before denying knowing anything about it. He is also going to the Yoga studio because his wife wants to experiment with the Kama Sutra. He seems relatively inexperienced with crazier sex here.
On campus, he becomes more debauched. He oversees the Naked Mile. He started it as a protest in the 1960’s, but now it has become “a roman orgy.” He makes a big speech before firing the gun starting the race.
Director Joe Nussbaum first came to prominence with a short film titled George Lucas in Love (1999). The film focused on a college age George Lucas trying to figure out how to make his agricultural space movie. From there, he has made many youth based films. His other works include Sleepover (2004), Sydney White (2007), and Prom (2011).
As a director, Nussbaum probably has the most fun with the visuals of the series. He includes whip pans, slo-mo, and Spike Lee-esque push ins on characters as they speak directly to camera.
Tracy as a Character
In the movie, the most important trait about Tracy is her unwillingness to have sex. She lost her previous boyfriend because of this choice. Besides this, the film looks at Tracy with apathy. In the opening narration, Erik says, “she understands me… and I try to understand her.” He says this over a scene where he goes horseback riding with her. It’s first time we see the couple doing something she wants to do and it’s seen as a challenge to get through. On top of that, the one time she starts telling Erik about her life, he brushes her off. This is because he’s too busy thinking about the fact that he has not had sex.
Since this movie focuses on women based on sexual validation, Tracy needs to be taught a lesson: “if you don’t put out, you will lose your boyfriend.” The film, however, does not present a reason that sex would fulfill Tracy as a character. Erik wants to have sex so can “be a man.” For Tracy, it does not seem to bring her any fulfillment except she gets to hold on to her boyfriend.
One of the points of the film is how little choice in the manner Tracy has. Early on in the film, Erik asks Tracy if he “can’t be ready enough for the both of us.” After she learns that Erik might be cheating on her, her two more sexualized friends (Jordan Madley and Melanie Merkosky) drag her to a party. One of them says that she doesn’t have a vote in whether to go to this party. When Erik and Tracy actually get to the bedroom, she asks him if they should have sex. Erik nods his head in the affirmative and they commence.
Costume and Production Design on Tracy
The film also presents her in contrast of other people in the movie. She seems to have the most innocent view of love of anybody in the movie. She has a teddy bear that was specially made to commemorate her and Erik as a couple. Tracy dresses in the most conservative manner of any young person in the movie. In order to make the character even more rigid, they contrast with her two more sexualized friends. They present the three of them in situations that require more revealing clothing. When doing Yoga, Tracy wears a jacket with her tank top while the others have more revealing tops.
The Other Female Characters in the Movie
The rest of the main female characters in the movie exist to validate or refuse the sexual urges of Erik’s friends.
In both films, Dwight Stifler often seduces the girlfriend of the head of the rich fraternity. In this case, he sleeps with Vicki (Mika Winkler), the girlfriend of the head of the “little person” fraternity (or as its commonly called “the midget fraternity”). Vicki goes to the fraternity to apologize for her boyfriend Rock’s (Jordan Prentice) behavior. Sparks ignite between the two and they have sex. With Vicki’s consent, Dwight films them and sends a DVD of it to Rock. This scene plays right before the end credits roll over pictures of Vicki and Dwight together on vacation around the world.
Mike “Cooze” Coozeman ends up sleeping with Jill (Jax Smith), who turns out to be a masochist in the bedroom. She satisfies Cooze’s sexual urges, but not in the way he expected or wanted. She is also the only female character who returns for the sequel, American Pie Presents: Beta House (2007).
A football player, Ryan Grimm (Ross Thomas) ends up having sex with Alexis (Angelique Lewis). A success in the bedroom, Ryan is first introduced sleeping with two High school girls. They then start making out with each other. Unlike Ryan, Alexis is an activist. Although the film tries to make a point that Ryan and Alexis are from different worlds, they are the film’s most conflict free couple. They pretty much run the naked mile, go to a party, and have sex.
The Naked Mile focuses on women satisfying men’s sexual needs. The primary relationship focuses on a woman not ready to have sex becoming ready for her boyfriend.
The sequel Beta House negates the plot of The Naked Mile. Tracy runs off with her first boyfriend Trent. Dwight and the fraternity shame Erik for not sleeping with Brandy.