The direct-to-video movie Girls’ Rules is the ninth installment of the popular American Pie franchise. While it has very little connection to the characters of the previous films, it definitely captures the same tone and themes, and the main story feels quite reminiscent of that of the original American Pie movie. Girls’ Rules is a hilarious teenage sex comedy following a group of four high school girls heading into their senior year, all lacking in the romance area of their lives. The girls decide to make a pact, setting some rules to fix their love lives by the upcoming homecoming dance (aka Morp) in 6 weeks.
Annie Watson (Madison Pettis, The Game Plan, The Fosters) is the lone virgin of the group, and her goal is to have sex for the first time with someone she loves. However, the love of her life, her boyfriend Jason (Zayne Emory, The Goldbergs, The Rookie, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) has just moved three hours away to start his freshman year at Michigan State. Kayla (Piper Curda, Youth & Consequences) has been in an on-again/off-again relationship with boyfriend Tim (Camaron Engels, Malibu Rescue) as she constantly suspects him of seeing someone else on the side. However, their relationship has become mostly physical, and Kayla needs a guy who likes her for her, and appreciates her sense of humor (as well as the sex). Michelle (Natasha Behnam) is an academic overachiever who has been exploring many varieties of self pleasure, getting turned on by watching old JFK speeches. She needs a guy who is smart and understands social consciousness. And finally there’s wild girl Stephanie Stifler (Lizze Broadway, Here and Now), who is looking for a nice guy who wants to be around her, buys her presents, and asks about her day. At the core of the girls’ rules is that the young women must support one another and hold each other accountable. However, that may prove difficult once they discover that they all have targeted the same guy—new student Grant (Darren Barnet, Never Have I Ever), the son of the school’s new principal Ellen (Sara Rue, American Housewife).
Girls’ Rules feels very much like the original film, with Annie taking on the Jim role. The cold open finds Annie trying to lose her virginity to boyfriend Jason, only to end up in a very awkward and embarrassing situation. Her divorced father, Kevin (Ed Quinn, One Day at a Time, Eureka), strikes up a physical relationship with the new neighbor, and is often quite frank and open with his daughter about the fact that he and this woman are “F Buddies”—it feels very reminiscent of the awkward conversations Jim’s father has with his son in the other films. (It was sad that this is the first film in the franchise without an appearance by Eugene Levy.) Annie also gets into many other awkward sexy situations such as experimenting with sex toys, and having cyber sex with her long-distance boyfriend. And her friends also have their own embarrassing moments.
While there aren’t really any direct connections in this movie to the rest of the franchise, the writers have tried to work in some items from the other films. Baked pie’s pop up several times over the course of the film (though no one attempts to have sex with them), and one of Annie’s friends is a Stifler (though it is never explained what her relationship to the original Stifler is). There are also several Band Camp references. When she was younger, Stephanie Stifler was good friends with classmate Emmett (Zachary Gordon, Diary of a Wimpy Kid), but the two hadn’t really talked in the past 9 years. However, Emmett had become friends with Grant at band camp, and so Stephanie seeks out his help and knowledge in order to manipulate Grant into falling for her. Meanwhile, Kayla also hits on Grant in order to make Tim jealous, and Michelle turns herself into a damsel in distress to try to get Grant’s attention—though she is already being actively persued by the principal’s nerdy student aide Oliver (Christian Valderrama). This leads to some hilarious moments of physical comedy.
There isn’t any actual nudity in Girls’ Rules, but the film does earn its R rating thanks to language and many sexual situations—usually played over the top for comedy. I think fans of the franchise will also enjoy this latest installment, even if it doesn’t provide much connection to its namesake. This latest film still captures the same kind of awkward sexual situations and physical humor of the previous films while also containing a surprising amount of heart. The characters are very likeable, and you find yourself rooting for all of these women, even though ultimately only one of them will likely end up with Grant. Overall it is quite a funny film, and I found myself laughing at the awkward sexcapades of these young ladies.
Universal has released American Pie Presents: Girls’ Rules on DVD, Digital and even Netflix—unfortunately there is no Blu-ray release, and there is no bonus material provided on any platform. I received the DVD release for review, and I found the picture and sound quality to be quite good. I compared the DVD to the HD picture on Netflix and found there to be some slight improvement in clarity and detail on the latter, but the SD DVD presentation is still quite sufficient overall. The audio track provides clear dialogue, and utilizes the stereo and surround channels to enhance the film’s music soundtrack and to provide some ambiance and a more immersive viewing experience. The DVD disc is packed in a standard DVD case along with a slipcover, and there is a code to redeem for points for the Universal Rewards All-Access program. Unfortunately there is no digital copy and no bonus material included. (Universal has released a gag reel and several other feturettes on YouTube—it seems odd that these weren’t included on the DVD or digital release.)
- 480i / Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1
- Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Japanese, Thai
- No bonus material is included on the disc
- Universal All-Access Rewards Code (Redemption Deadline 12/31/2025)
Code can be redeemed for points towards a free digital movie or other items in the new Universal All-Access Rewards program. The selection of free digital titles changes every two months and, as of October 1, include The Dilemma, North Shore, Snow Falling on Cedars, The Man with the Iron Fists 2 (Unrated), The Man with the Iron Fists 2, and Safe House.
American Pie Presents: Girls’ Rules is a fun new installment to the American Pie franchise. While its connection to the previous films is tenuous at best, it does recapture the same tone and themes of the previous films. The story feels quite reminiscent of the original movie, but following a group of girls instead of guys. Universal has released the film on a bare-bones DVD and Digital platforms, but has also made it available on Netflix. I highly recommend checking it out on Netflix first for “free” if you have access. That said, it’s still a welcome addition to my collection I just wish there had been a Blu-ray release and some bonus material included—these films have always offered an unrated cut on home video, but that is not even an option this time around.