American Reunion, 2012.
Directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg.
Starring Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Chris Klein, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Tara Reid, Mena Suvari, Seann William Scott, Eugene Levy, Jennifer Coolidge and John Cho.
Jim, Michelle, Stifler and company reunite in East Great Falls, Michigan for their high school reunion.
13 years ago I sneaked into a screening of American Pie (I was a whole year younger than the 15 certificate) and was treated to what has been described as the Porky’s of my generation. Last night I got to take a trip down nostalgia lane for American Reunion, and boy at times did it make me feel old.
While the first two American Pie films were excellent, the third film left a sour taste in a lot of fan’s mouths due to it being fairly lame, with half of the cast missing. On top of that, the American Pie name was abused by Universal with three very poorly put together direct-to-DVD movies which dragged a once credible teen movie franchise through the mud. (I wrote a Talkin’ Trilogies on the series a year ago, click here to read it).
But now with all that in the past, the cast are back for one more outing. But the question is, was it really worthwhile?
In short, yes. The film restores a lot of credibility back to the franchise with a film that is very, very funny. More than just a few moments had me laughing out loud, just as I had done 13 years ago, and the majority of the cast looked great. It’s really nice to see where all these characters are at in their lives since leaving high school. Jim is now a dad working a boring desk job, Kevin is a stay-at-home-housewife / architect, Oz is a sports announcer and semi-celebrity and Finch has become a free spirit and world traveler. Stifler is still the same boy he was when he was in high school but has been dragged down by the fears of having to grow up, so spends his life living in the past. But now they can cut the shackles of everyday grown-up life to live one more weekend as teenagers for their high school reunion. It’s two hours of fart jokes, swearing, nudity and excessive drinking – everything we want from an American Pie movie.
While the film is funny (and it is very funny), it’s not a perfect movie. A lot of the plot feels flat because they try to give every character a story arc which means the movie tries to cram so much into the nearly two hour running time. Speaking of the running time, the film does feel quite badly paced and sags towards the end of the second act before bringing it back up for the finale. Some of the performances are truly awful, with Chris Klein taking home the prize for worst performance (almost on the same level as his legendary Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li performance). Thomas Ian Nicholas also pulls in a dull showing as wet-back Kevin and Tara Reid phones in a very bland appearance with an almost “just give my paycheque” demeanour. It’s also a shame to see some of the more loved secondary characters from previous films (Shermaniator, Nadia etc.) get shunned into small cameo roles that are there for audience satisfaction and nothing else, while the new characters that are introduced are there just to make up the numbers and supply plot points.
However, this film succeeds where it needs to. From the gross-out comedy moments to the Stifler one-liners, all the comedy notes are hit perfectly and in tune and the film never leaves it too long without giving you something to laugh at.
Some of the jokes seemed to fall short but I put that down to the audience I was with, which seemed to be made up of 18 year old students who would have been 5 when the first movie came out. References to 90s bands and celebrities seemed to fly over their heads while they raised chuckles from me and my girlfriend. It’s crazy to think that when the first movie came out, there wasn’t a YouTube or a Facebook and even mobile phones weren’t all that common. How times have changed (hence why I felt quite old), eh?
American Reunion is not the best movie in the world and there is quite a bit wrong with it, but it achieves what it sets out to do. It’s not as funny or as the original but is probably on par with American Pie 2. If you enjoyed the movies when you were a teenager and are in the mood for a nostalgic trip, you’re in for a treat.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Luke Owen is a freelance copywriter working for Europe’s biggest golf holiday provider as their web content executive.