It’s nine years since we last caught up with the original American Pie gang. Since then we’ve had four straight-to-DVD titles that threatened to make the Pie name as dodgy as National Lampoon’s has become in the last couple of decades. However now they’ve managed to get pretty much all of the main Pie actors back, as well as most of the minor ones, with the likes of the Sherminator popping up for cameos.
While the gang have gone their separate ways, they all head back to East Great Falls for a reunion. Getting back together causes everyone to take stock of their lives and reminisce on the differences between who they’ve become and who they thought they’d be. Jim (Jason Biggs) is still married to Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) and they have a young kid together, but are having difficulty finding time to make love. Oz (Chris Klein) is a sports announcer with a model girlfriend, but still has feelings for Heather (Mena Suvari). Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) claims to be living a globe-trotting bohemian life but is still in search of great love. Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is married but is surprised at the feelings brought up by seeing Vicky (Tara Reid). The only one who hasn’t really changed is Stifler (Seann William Scott), but that’s causing its own problems now he’s in his 30s.
However while there’s a thread of wistfulness at the changes the guys have gone through and loss of a youth when the biggest problem was whether they’d lose their virginity, Reunion doesn’t forget that American Pie is also about gross-out gags. Whether it’s Stifler sticking it to some teens by shitting in their beer cooler or Jim ending up on the front lawn at a party wearing bondage gear, as with the first three movies, it’s still largely a series of set-ups for farce and scatological silliness. It lacks the anarchic and often somewhat cruel edge of the first couple of films, but personally I was quite pleased about that, as while the jokes are still gross, it’s easier to be amused by them rather than having to cringe.
It’s also nice that the slightly homophobic edge to some of the jokes in the earlier movies has been toned down. There are a couple moments where it hits the edge of being gratuitous anti-gay, but then pulls it back with the introduction of a couple of gay characters, some man-on-man kissing and one of the characters getting a bit of a homo-friendly makeover.
It’s by no means a completely triumphant return though, and Reunion often feels like it’s spending too much time referencing the earlier movies as a cheap nudge to fans, and not enough time truly mining the laughs. And by trying to give everybody enough screentime it ensures nobody’s story ever really becomes that interesting. In fact, the most entertaining part of the movie is Jim’s dad’s (Eugene Levy) attempts to move past the death of his wife and develop his fledgling relationship with Stifler’s mom (Jennifer Coolidge). I would have welcomed more of that and less catching up with relationships between the younger guys and girls that weren’t that memorable to begin with (Tara Reid and Mena Suvari in particular are given more screentime than necessary, especially as nobody really cared that much about them in the original movies).
On the DVD there’s not a huge amount in the way of special features. Just some unnecessary deleted scenes and a fairly amusing gag reel. If you’re interested in featurettes etc. you’ll have to get the Blu-ray.
Overall Verdict: Fans will undoubtedly enjoy catching up with the American Pie gang, but it’s undoubtedly more amusing than a full-on laugh riot.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac