It’s been thirteen years since we were introduced to Jim, Oz, Finch, Stifler and their boring friend Kevin. The original American Pie saw this tight group of friends make a pact to lose their virginity before their high school graduation. It was arguably the iconic film of its time, tapping into the concerns and obsessions of teenagers (namely sex) and exploring them from very funny, frequently gross and unexpectedly sweet angles. In the years since, its sequels have seen the gang reunite for a holiday, for a wedding, and now, we’re invited to their 13 year high school reunion.
We catch up with Jim and Michelle, (Jason Biggs and Alyson Hannigan) whose relationship is starting to show its cracks under the pressure of parenthood; former jock Oz (Chris Klein) is now a celebrity sportscaster with a supermodel girlfriend; Stifler (Seann William Scott) is an entry level office drone who lives under the thumb of his Napoleonic boss; super-snob Finch arrives aboard a motorbike and seems to be the most thoroughly travelled of the lost; and the boring one has gone on to become something unmemorable. Though they’ve spent years apart, the one common thing that unites them all is their disappointment at where they’ve arrived in life.
For a movie replete with sex gags and poop jokes, Reunion has a strangely poignant story that will likely resonate with fans of the series. All of them have responsibilities to jobs, spouses and/or children and they can’t have fun like they used to and allow themselves. Those who caught the original in your teens will now be approaching your early thirties and will probably share many of the characters’ regrets. Unless you’ve happened to achieve everything you’ve intended to in the last decade, in which case: I hate you.
Comedy sequels commonly fall into the same trap: every sequence that was successful in the original will be repeated, mutated or heavily referenced. The Austin Powers and Meet the Parents movies are particularly egregious offenders and to a certain extent, so are the American Pie movies. Of course there will be a sequence where Jim will be caught in the act of doing something embarrassing; there will also be a moment when Stifler releases waste in a place where he shouldn’t; John Cho will almost certainly make an appearance to reaffirm his appreciation for MILFs. But there’s something forgivable about he rehashed elements in Reunion. The movie is rooted in the idea that revisiting old ideas and places is something to be feel nostalgic and perhaps a little sad about. On top of that, the writing is solid and the entire cast of actors are still very capable of being hilarious (minus the boring one, Kevin, who is still dull). Seann William Scott deserves an individual shout-out: revisiting this role after Role Models, Goon and his numerous supporting turns in other comedies, we can see how very specific Stifler is as ‘the annoying party guy’ character.
If you have never seen an American Pie movie in your life, this would not be a good place to start; but for those who have loved or just enjoyed the series, we can solidly recommend that you attend this particular reunion.