Directed by: Andrew Waller
Written by: Erik Lindsay
Starring: John White, Steve Talley, Christopher McDonald, Eugene Levy
When there’s nothing left to do in a franchise, sometimes it’s necessary to have a simple mishmash of events instead of an actual plot. While certainly being the one most detached from the original trilogy, Beta House takes the ideas of American Pie and simply just turns it into a frat party.
Now going to college and no longer with Tracy, Erik Stifler (John White) attends college and learns that he has entered a brand new world. With it comes the task of pledging to the fraternity that has made his cousin, Dwight (Steve Talley) a legend amongst the students. Upon trying to get into the fraternity, they are challenged by the geek fraternity that wants to get rid of the Betas for good.
Beta House presents itself as the first of the spin-offs to use the main characters from the one that preceded it so we have Erik back and now that he’s newly single, he gets the opportunity to learn about college. At first, they were certainly going for this, but then they realized that the target audience for the film seeks raunchiness and decided to tell a story that would only fit in the fantasy of a high schooler imagining what college would be like. It’s laughable that Erik walks into a co-ed bathroom and a naked girl walks out of the shower and just smiles at him like it’s just what happens at college. Being that he lives on a co-ed floor with co-ed bathrooms, girls seem to be always walking through the hall in their towels. Again, all of this is happening during move-in day where parents are still present.
This film, like many of this subject matter, shows college to be a place where sexual deviancy is rewarded and the one who has the most sexual conquests becomes the victor. It shows that everyone seems to be open to sexual endeavors. It’s naive, to say the least, but the redeeming quality of this film comes from its ridiculousness. The only way to rev up this absurdity meant that the story focused more on Dwight rather than Erik. As much as Erik became the protagonist to root for in The Naked Mile, his personality became too bland to lead what the writers wanted to do with this film. He still had his moments but he certainly got pushed to the side so Dwight can raise the temperature and mayhem ensues.
While being less bigoted towards little people, Beta House still employs much of the misogynistic views that this entire franchise has prided itself on. It will always be a series of movies created to get the laughter and respect of teenage boys that have no idea how the real world works. It creates a fantasy that every woman desires you and that college creates the opportunity to get with as many girls as possible. It shows that women are an object for the pleasure of men and displays that all of these films are childish by any measure.
However, I did enjoy some of the film references sprinkled throughout the story, like the scene that paid homage to The Deer Hunter. A scene that toed the line of going a bit too far, but it stayed the course in order to land its joke. Most films within the franchise have more bad than they have any good, but their light and quick nature make them something worth having on in the background or if one is bored.
Ultimately, the filmmakers behind these films know exactly what they’re making. It will not be challenging in any regard or tell a semi-interesting story. It displays a fantasy world that only a high school boy would think resembles paradise. I find myself laughing at the whole landscape the film tries to create and that’s where I find my enjoyment. I completely understand anyone that sees it for the trash they are.