THE FOUR CENTRAL characters desperate to lose their virginity by prom night may be adolescents, but their behavior is so adult and twisted that this $11 million comedy snagged an NC-17 rating from the MPAA three times before landing an R. There are stripteases, lessons on how to give women the “big O,” and a number with an apple pie that gives a whole new meaning to experimental sex.
Starring mostly unknowns, Pie’s first-time directors were determined to take an unflinching look at the humiliating horrors of being a teenager and (gasp) still a virgin. “We knew if we watered it down, [teens] wouldn’t buy it,” says Chris, who cites 1982’s ”Fast Times at Ridgemont High” as inspiration. Playing the vulgarities for laughs, he adds, “is making a virtue out of necessity.” That may be the only time you’ll hear “virtue” and American Pie mentioned together. “The first time I read the script I wasn’t sure if it wasn’t too gross,” admits Klein, 20, who plays a lacrosse jock yearning for a choirgirl. “But my mother said, ‘Don’t be retarded.'” Nicholas, 18, who plays a sex-starved senior, took a leap of faith as well: “I thought it was perverse [at first#093;. Now I think it’s good, but it doesn’t reflect my life. Shoot, my character makes a pact to get laid before graduating, and I practice abstinence.”