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Stifler's Mom raises hopes around the globe

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IN England, she's Stifler's mum.

In France, she's Stifler's mere.

In Germany, she's Stifler's mutter.

But on her home turf, she will always be Stifler's mom.

No matter where Jennifer Coolidge has roamed to promote American Reunion, the just-opened third sequel to American Pie, she has discovered that her matriarchal temptress who first slinked onto the screen and stirred boyish libidos 13 years ago translates into any language.

As fans of the sex-comedy franchise know, her character, who likes her Scotch the same way she prefers her lovers ("aged 18 years"), helped to introduce the racy acronym MILF into the lexicon. And Coolidge is delighted that she continues to be associated with the shady lady.

"Thank God for Stifler's mom," says the actress, 48, calling from Berlin. "I don't know if life would be this fun if I didn't have that. As a single woman, I reap the benefits of being Stifler's mom."

She reveals that males regularly approach her with a certain glint in their eye. "But never anyone close to my age. Always young guys." Not that there's anything wrong with that, she adds.

However, that situation could change considering what the buxom and blond Jeanine (Stifler's mom's rarely-used first name) is up to in the new film. While her usual tryst-buddy Finch (played by Eddie Kaye Thomas) has switched to ladies his own age, Stifler's mom also happens upon a more generation-appropriate target in the form of Eugene Levy, dad to Jim (Jason Biggs). Wouldn't you know, Mr. Square is now a widower and looking to swing.

Acting as matchmakers was the directing-writing team of Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, thirtysomething super-fans of the Pie films known for their Harold & Kumar series, who were recruited to inject some plot Viagra into the flagging franchise.

"I was thrilled to do more than come in at the end of the movie and sleep with Finch," says Coolidge. "While I missed not having scenes with Eddie, Jon and Hayden convinced me that Stifler's mom needed to grow."

The opposites-attract relationship between her and Jim's dad reminds her of a modern-day Goodbye, Mr. Chips: "An innocent man and a less-than-innocent woman."

While she and Levy, 65, never worked opposite each other in previous Pie films, they have appeared together in four other features. Most notably, they are both part of a troupe of players that regularly appears in such Christopher Guest's mockumentaries as Best in Show and A Mighty Wind.

Unfortunately, she says, "I don't get scenes with Eugene in those, either. Everyone wants to be his partner in the Chris Guest movies."

When Hurwitz and Schlossberg speak about Coolidge, they sound as much in awe of her as any guy of a certain age.

"Jennifer just has this presence when she walks into a room," Hurwitz says. "Every head turns. She is very quick, very funny and fearless. Not only is she a big presence, but every time she opens her mouth she is likely to come out with something that truly shocks you."

If there is a downside to being Stifler's mom, it's that fans expect Coolidge to look and act like Stifler's mom all the time.

"When I'm out on the town doing errands and I'm wearing a scrunchy in my hair and no heels, people do look disappointed," says Coolidge, who also has a recurring role as a glamorous cleaning lady on the sitcom 2 Broke Girls. "Usually, some young kid goes, 'That's not her, is it?'"

-- USA Today

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 16, 2012 D4

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