Thirteen years on from the original Pie, the friends reunite at their high school reunion and try to recapture their youth while the pressures of family, maturity threaten to actually force them to grow up.
1999s American Pie
was a movie milestone for many people, mostly because it was the first properly raunchy, teen aimed comedy to arrive since a brief 80s hey-day. There was nothing politically correct about Pie
; the characters talked and acted like real teenage kids and, together with some memorable comedy set pieces (and strong marketing) it became a surprise success for studio Universal
Two amiable sequels followed (and a bunch of DTV dross) but Reunion
is the first fully fledged film since the hi-jinks in 2003s American Wedding
so has the format finally reached a point of stagnation?
Surprisingly enough, no. American Pie
may have originated with some dirty jokes and the molestation of baked goods but its lasting appeal has always been down to the genuinely likeable nature of the characters and the fact that the filmmakers managed to retain a refreshing level of sentiment, and even emotion, regardless of how many bodily fluids were in evidence.Reunion
continues in this vein, with the title not only acting as an excuse to get the characters back together but also gives audiences a chance to see the entire cast return more than decade on from their original outing. It’s a pleasure to see everyone back (though perhaps a telling commentary on their career trajectories) with most aging surprisingly well.
Better yet, you’ll also get to spend more time with the incomparable Jennifer Coolidge
and Eugene Levy
. The latter in particular gets his most expansive role yet as tragedy in the family draws him and Jason Biggs’
character closer together. With the (semi) maturity of the main cast, the exchanges between Jim and his dad finally sees the two as equals, with advice going both ways and some genuinely emotional moments.
Of course American Reunion
remains primarily a comedy, though as with previous entries the jokes come at a measured pace rather than thick and fast. As usual, they mainly stem from Seann William Scott’s
Steve Stifler, a near legendary character who gets his own dose of drama in this iteration. Scott
has managed to maintain his popularity better than anyone would have expected, showing his leading man potential to great effect in this year’s Goon (read our review)
. His over the top style as Stifler remains the most entertaining thing about the film, complete with potty mouth indignation and a keen interest in over the top revenge.
Next to the lurid (and surprisingly layered) character of Stifler, few others are given much chance to make an impression. Biggs
is as likeable as ever, with his tepid relationship with Alyson Hannigan
given a good amount of screen time. Apart from Levy
, the rest are simply dull – particularly Thomas Ian Nicolas’
Kevin and far too much of Chris Klein’s
Oz. by the time the reunion itself finally arrives, the inevitable reconciliations end up feeling rushed, with a series of returning cameos being rapidly ticked off the list.
New directors Jon Hurwitz
and Hayden Schlossberg
are more associated with the Harold and Kuma
r series but keep things effectively grounded here, punctuating the proceedings with appropriately 90s music and keeping the narrative moving along to give each member of the large cast some screen time. The set pieces are limited but one, involving an extended mission to infiltrate a neighbour’s house, ranks up with the best the series has to offer.American Pie
has grown up, with the series refreshingly willing to allow its characters to evolve from one movie to the next. Never fear, there are still plenty of mature moments but the film mostly steers clear of gross out humour and utilises Scott’s
character to its fullest extent, while still remembering to further the characters and give them enough dramatic moments to make you actually care about how their lives are going, thirteen years after their first piece of pie.