It’s been thirteen years since the first American Pie came into theaters and brought the teen sex comedy back into the mainstream all through a guy being a bit too forward with a pie. Since then there’s been two theatrical sequels and a string of direct-to-DVD films putting the American Pie franchise on par with National Lampoon. The only reason American Reunion got a theatrical release is the return of all the main cast members from the 1999 film. Other than that American Reunion is a sad, juvenile attempt to recapture the joys of high school with a group of sad 30-somethings who still think fart humor is funny.
The East Great Falls class of 1999 comes together for their high school reunion (three years too late for some reason) and hijinks ensue. In that time loveable loser Jim (Jason Biggs) has settled down with band girl Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) and has lost their spark after the birth of their son. Oz (Chris Klein) is a reality show star with a hot girlfriend but still holds a torch for choir girl Heather (Mena Suvari). Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) are world-class travelers and desperate house-husbands respectively, and class clown Stifler (Seann William Scott) is still trying to recapture his high school glory days.
Amongst the gross-out humor there is a heart still beating faintly within American Reunion. What the original had was an expert blend of raunchy humor with a realistic look at the high school experience. Here there are moments of poignancy as Jim tries to recapture the love for his wife and bonds with his widower father (Eugene Levy). When the movie slows down to look at the world after high school, and what happens when the dreams you set then don’t pan out, the movie is a sweet look at life after 25.
With that comes a large cast of which only a handful are even worth mentioning. Jason Biggs continues to be the heart-felt center of this cast. His turn as Jim is still sweet and sincere as in the last three ventures. He cares for his wife, loves his child, and it never feels fake or used to forward the story. If the film had focused on Jim, and his life, it could have made up for a lot of missed opportunities.
The rest of the cast is a slew of mediocre to downright stupid. Thomas and Nicholas are wasted as Finch and Kevin, they’re simply used to round out the original four and their back-story is slipped in either in the first or last five minutes of the film. Klein continues to play the simple ex-jock trying to get the unattainable girl and playing opposite him Mena Suvari looks bored. Hannigan is also wasted as the once-hilarious Michelle, downgraded to making wide eyes and exaggerated mouth movements. Scott is the most over-the-top. While he still knows how to play Stifler, the script doesn’t change the character at all so the audience just feels as if Scott is playing the overused trope of sexist man-child.
That’s the main way to sum up American Reunion, a boring movie reliant on overused tropes. Every major beat in this film has been established, and done better, in other movies. The film is so delayed in coming that it’s continually playing catch-up to the other films in the R-rated genre. The script, written by original scribes Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, seems to have decided to go the route of the direct-to-DVD films because there’s no story. It’s relies solely on gross-out humor and naked women. Some of the humor is so disgusting it’s not funny, it’s just sickening, especially one scene involving something on Stifler’s face (you’ll know it when it happens). It’s as if the directors say the numbers on those direct-to-DVD films and made a movie for those fans, not the fans of the original trilogy. The women don’t wear bras and are content to take their clothes off while the men don’t go through any metamorphosis and the titled reunion…literally happens in the last five minutes of the movie.
There’s a lot more I could discuss in how stupid and pointless this film is. There’s the creepy relationship between Jim and a girl he once babysat for, and the abandoned relationship between Jim’s dad and Stifler’s mom (Jennifer Coolidge) that’s hyped in the trailers and goes nowhere in the film. If you enjoyed all those American Pie DVDs then you’ll love this movie. If you enjoyed the first and didn’t like the sequels this will be the worst of the bunch.