The Book of Love

The Book of LoveSynopsis: When three East Great Falls High buddies accidentally discover the legendary “Book of Love”, penned by some of their school’s alumni, they embark on a hilariously outrageous quest to lose their virginity with the girls of their dreams. Join Jim’s Dad (Eugene Levy) and this lovable and outrageous group of guys in this raucous comedy full of shocking and heartwarming fun!

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The Book of Love 5.75

eyelights: its cameos. the cute girls.
eyesores: its formulaic quality. its lackluster production. its lack of laughs.

“You know I’m a virgin, right?”

Humdrum humour in a carbon-copy comedy: such is ‘The Book of Love’.

The fourth and final entry in the straight-to-video ‘American Pie presents” series, this 2009 low-budget comedy is really as uninspired as they come. Though it begins with a pretty good gimmick, the infamous sex “Bible” that Kevin discovered in the original film, the movie somehow finds a way to make it wholly uninteresting, and even inconsequential.

‘Book of Love’ takes us back to East Great Falls, where three friends are trying to lose their virginity. Hapless Rob tries his luck with Heidi, a hottie who, for some reason, doesn’t have a boyfriend and deplores her own virginity. Nathan tries to convince his born-again virgin girlfriend to put out. And dorky Marshall longs for Ashley, the school babe.

Um… who wants to bet that they fail?

Yeah, exactly: there are no surprises here. In fact, ‘The Book of Love’ comes off as week-old leftover, complete with an opening scene in which Rob decides to masturbate with a peanut butter sandwich – which leads his dog to join in on the action. Yeah, I know. To further cement the ‘American Pie’ connection, the scene ends with a shot of an apple pie.

Seriously.

It’s bad enough that the scene borrowed from the far superior ‘Road Trip‘, but the filmmakers are so blatant about it that Rob and his friends have a follow-up exchange that echoes the one that Kyle and the others have about dogs and peanut butter! And yet, they somehow manage to ruin the gag, which was so memorable in Todd Philips’ own movie.

‘The Book of Love’ is so low on originality and effort that even its version of Stifler, whose relation to the original is unclear, is watered down: he’s an unfunny dork who instantly succeeds one moment and then gets shot down another. Add to this a truly ordinary performance courtesy of John Patrick Jordan, and somehow Stifler is utterly neutered.

The whole cast is wholly unremarkable, starting with Bug Hall as Rob. He and all of the others are like comedy wet blankets, incapable of bringing the laughs or elevating the material in any way. They’re just so average, so bland, like soda crackers – and too old. Even Eugene Levy can’t do anything with this material, cashing in his paycheque dutifully.

So what do we get in ‘The Book of Love’? We get a recurring gag wherein Rob’s younger brother videos him in a compromising position and posts it online for everyone to see. We get Rob sneaking panties in his pants to impress Ashley. We get Nathan embarrassing Dana and her family at Church. We get a road trip to a Canada brothel to visit “Monique”.

This last part is probably the worst because it actually tries to be funny but fails miserably. The exchange with the customs officer is lame. The hooker with the pathetic “French” accent was an eyesore. The septuagenarian Monique with her bad back and the shakes was dumb. And the notion that she would die when Rob unloads in her mouth was sad.

Especially given the ensuing weak-@$$ slapstick!

The direction is abysmal: Scenes begin and end with little or no consequence; they’re just a bunch of bits that were wedged together but that don’t actually move the plot or advance the character arcs. The characters don’t make any sense; everything they do serves the gags, which are so unbelievably lame that you have to wonder why they’re the focus of the movie.

Why would Rob’s little brother be allowed to film him? Why would Nathan and Dana be oblivious that their conversation was live? Why would Heidi misunderstand Rob’s suggestions? Why would she forget that she was insulted by his boast of having sex with her? Why would she say she almost had sex with Stifler because she was nervous and wanted to be ready for Rob?

And why in the world would the whole gang let Stifler get humped by a moose?

WTF?

And on and on and on…

None of their behaviour makes any sense.

Frankly, the only fun thing in this whole picture is Marshall’s predilection for daydreaming all sorts of sex fantasies, which pepper the scenes by virtue of the fact that we don’t know they’re fantasies right at the onset. And they’re utterly gratuitous, as any teenaged sex fantasy would be; they exist merely as eye candy and/or to titillate the audience.

Yep. That‘s all that this movie has in its arsenal.

‘The Book of Love’ is a textbook paint-by-numbers teen sex comedy: it’s a weak production filled to the brim with weak direction, weak writing, weak performances and weak gags. Heck, even its crude humour is uninspired and is too ineffectual to muster up any outrageous and/or shocking moments, let alone any laughs – and this was the unrated version!

It was high time to turn the page on the series.

Story: 5.5
Acting: 6.5
Production: 6.0

Nudity: 3.0
Sexiness: 3.0
Explicitness: 4.0

Date of viewing: December 7, 2016

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