American Pie Reunion Review

The Plot

Jim, Kevin, Finch, Oz and Stiffler reunite in East Great Falls, Michigan for their high school reunion.  13 years after the first American Pie film, they all find themselves facing up to the pressures and uncertainties of adulthood. Perhaps another dose of cringe worthy calamity will help them finally learn how to deal with marriage, kids, jobs and love.   

The Good

There is something nice about seeing Eugene Levy (Jim’s Dad) finally joined by the rest of the original cast, after suffering through several atrocious straight to DVD sequels on his own. There’s only so long one man can carry a comedy franchise on his quizzically raised bushy eyebrows.

While all the old characters are busy enjoying a friendly reunion and predictable hijinks, it’s fairly interesting at least to see how kind father time has been to their familiar faces and bodies. Fortunes are mixed.

Although American Reunion has little genuinely new territory to explore it does have one potential ace up its sleeve, a long overdue meeting between Jim’s Dad (Eugene Levy) and Stiffler’s Mom (Jennifer Coolidge). It’s just surprising it took the franchise this long to take advantage of pairing two of its most successful elements in the same scene.

The Bad

Whilst the misguided mistakes and embarrassing escapades of sex obsessed teenage boys is a ready source of easy comedy, the jokes have worn pretty thin by the time everyone’s creeping into their obvious thirties.

Given the fact the main theme of the film is about dealing with maturity it’s ironic that so much of the humour is entirely dependent on having kept the characters forcibly regressed and artificially immature. The obnoxious return of Sean William Scott as Stiffer is a prime example, sure to divide opinions between those who love or loath his foul mouthed antics.  The storylines for several of the returning cast do feel especially forced and unnecessary.

It’s fair to say the acting prowess on display varies wildly, ranging from fondly enthusiastic to painful paycheck chasing. Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas (Kevin) and Tara Reid are some of the worst offenders. Ideally you want the audience to laugh at the contrived awkward situations, not the casts’ attempts to emote.  Only Alyson Hannigan can claim to have escaped the franchise with any degree of real success and with good reason.

American Reunion relies a little too heavily on affection for the franchise which won’t necessarily exist among uninitiated teens and more discerning older audiences.

The Ugly Truth

Nostalgic fans of the early slices of American Pie will welcome the return of all the familiar characters and the franchise’s trademark brand of disastrous sexual misadventures.  New audiences unfamiliar with the past films may judge American Reunion more harshly by its obvious faults. It is a dramatic improvement on the most recent DVD offerings but remains at best a guilty pleasure.

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