Lets start with a little bit of my history with this franchise. Way back in the early days of the new millennium, little 9 year old Jack Gregson and his friends rented a film that changed their lives forever, that film was American Pie. It was the movie that introduced them to the gross out genre and moulded their teenage years. Then in his 11th year Mr Gregson received American Pie 2 as birthday present, it continued the rowdy adventures of friends Jim, Kevin, Oz, Finch and Stiffler, and in a way, the young Gregson felt he was joining in on the adventure. Then comes 2003 and American Pie: The Wedding is released and the 13 year old Jack Gregson sneaks into it as his first 15 rated film. These films are sort of milestones in this young critics life, thus the release of a 4th film got me incredibly excited. It’s safe to say this review will not feature the most balanced of views.
American Pie: Reunion sees the kids from East Great Falls all grown up. Jim (Biggs) and Michelle (Hannigan) are now parents, though their sex life is practically non-existant, Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is a married house-husband, Oz (Chris Klein) is a popular sports host and former reality TV contestant, Stiffler (Scott) is a temp at a firm where he’s treated like a bitch and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) seems to have a mysterious past. The gang are all meeting up for their 13–year high school reunion. They decide to relive old times and examine if they are really where they want to be in life. Of course this all leads to misunderstandings, sexual activities and a whole heap of fun.
This film is pure fan service but as a fan, I felt serviced. It’s great to see and catch up with these characters and to have it not feel forced. It’s amazing how easily these actors have been able to slip back into their roles, for those hoping to see Tara Reid or Chris Klein make fools of themselves you’ll be surprisingly disappointed (though Klein’s characters appearance on a celebrity dance show comes close). As always with these films the standouts are Seann William-Scott and Eugene Levy who both steal the show, grabbing every laugh they can get. Biggs is still a very likeable everyman though Hannigan’s role seems severely reduced. Nicholas who always seemed like the weakest actor of the bunch is far more bearable here though that may be due to his character not having too much to do.
The film stays true to the tone of the original film, despite occasionally running into the realms of absurdist comedy that feels like something out of a Harold & Kumar movie rather than an American Pie film (which is not surprising as the directors and writers are responsible for all three Harold & Kumar movies). The worst parts of the film involve the love story between Oz and Heather (Mena Survari), which feels incredibly generic and forced, but it isn’t our main focus. Jim and Michelle are still where the aim of this series is pointed (mostly Jim) and their story feels fresh enough to work, the idea of romance dying after the birth of a child is quite a sweet idea. Also Stiffler growing up and realising that he isn’t the life of the part anymore plays out like immature Young Adult (see what we did there?) which is fun. Though plot points aren’t what we go to these movies for, we want gross out moments and sex, and we’re given that in spades (boobs and a penis in one movie, wowsers), it’s far funnier than the third film and just as raunchy as all the previous releases.
This won’t appeal to everyone, it’s strictly for fans only. Like last years Scre4m, American Pie: Reunion is a blast for anyone who grew up loving these characters and have been wondering what they’ve been up to over the past couple of years. There are cameos galore and references to the 90s that make you feel young all over again but that’s just nostalgia, and the film play on that for a lot of the time, and whilst it is funny and raunchy one has to question if anyone outside of the American Pie cult will be able to sit through the film. The laughs are there for non-fans but they won’t feel the love that is definitely present in this film. It’s a rarity of a film; it has such a narrow audience but that audience will absolutely love it, just as I did.