Directors: Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg. Universal/Practical/Relativity Media/Zoe Pictures
Producers: Chris Moore, Craig Perry, Chris Weitz, Warren Zide. Writers: Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg. Camera: Daryn Okada. Music: Lyle Workman. Sets: William Arnold.
Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Seann William Scott, Mena Suvari, Eddie Kaye Thomas, John Cho, Jennifer Coolidge, Eugene Levy, Natasha Lyonne, Dania Ramirez, Shannon Elizabeth, Chris Owen.
The original characters from the first three American Pie films reunite for their High School reunion. But all is not well. Jim and Michelle (Biggs, Hannigan) are married with a young son, but are having bedroom issues. Oz (Klein) is a successful sports news anchor with a gorgeous, but too wild, girlfriend. Kevin (Nicholas) is a put upon office man with an adoring girlfriend, but who hankers after his first love (Reid). Finch (Thomas) is a free-spirit troubled to be back in his home town. And party man Stiffler (Scott) is a temp who hasn’t grown up. It’s going to take a big, lad’s only weekend to sort them out.
It’s been 14 years since the first American Pie and yet the cast of now mid-30 something’s have hardly aged a day, though perhaps they seem younger because these characters are so firmly established in some teenage hinterland of only-just yesteryear.
Despite the gross out tone of the comedy with these films, they certainly struck a chord with movie audiences worldwide (each instalment has grossed over $200 million at international box offices), though it was perhaps with wildly halcyon eyes that the Evening Standard’s David Sexton eulogised so excessively over this new addition to the series.
Reunion looks set to do similar bumper business and, with a creeping sense of over-familiarity coming over this reviewer, it’s easy to see why and to identify with Sexton’s take on the proceedings. All of the original cast return (though, curiously, Lyonne appears only very briefly at the very end of the film. A shame, as she was a total joy in the first film), a similar team behind the camera (though original director Weitz is now only producer) and the set-up, though not revolving around teenage boys trying to get laid, involves their older versions…trying to get laid.
The only other thing that this has in common with its filmic forbears is a laugh out loud sense of humour. You can always rely on these movies to do exactly what it says on the pie box’s cooking instructions – literally scream at the funny moments. Only in American Pie will you see, within the first three minutes of screen time, a man masturbating with a sports sock, bleeding penises and women getting off with a shower head.
It’s a sign of the highest, impurest gross-out comedy genius, of course. And thankfully it continues as Scott (who became a huge star in the intervening years) manages to soil some horrible teenagers beer cooler and Levy (another casting joy, as Biggs’ unflappably frank and educational Jewish father) discovers partying and Stiffler’s lubricious mother (Coolidge).
Some scenes struggle to raise a laugh (trying to get drunken teenager Cara back into her bed is a laboured, limp adventure; too much is made of Klein’s apple-pie good looks; Suvari is a sour garnish, but she always was).
But, whither goest thou American…whatever? Well, despite this being a very welcome reunion, it leaves the feeling that a longer period should elapse between this and the next hook up. Perhaps American Alzheimer’s with the boys joining forces in a retirement village to dodge their meds, chase the nurses (without their elderly wives finding out) and swig shots to toast their youth. Stiffler’s Mom could be preserved in formaldehyde, forever winking suggestively at handsome young geriatricians. The future possibilities for this series are endless!