It’s been nearly 13 years since we were first introduced to the awkward group of friends in “American Pie” who made a pact to lose their virginity before graduation. Since then, we have seen them come together after high school and for a wedding. In “American Reunion,” everyone is back for East Great Falls High School’s 13th reunion (they didn’t throw a 10-year reunion).
We have Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), who are married with a young son, Kevin (Thomas Ian Nichols), who is a work from home architect, Chris “Oz” Ostreicher (Chris Klein), who is a cheese-ball sportscaster on a NFL show, Steven Stifler, who works for a large corporation in town, and Paul Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), a self-proclaimed world traveler.
Things haven’t exactly worked out as the group of friends planned;. One has been reduced to a house-husband, another had a failed stint on a reality show, one has a dying sex life with his wife and another is an office jockey with a domineering boss. As they get together to relive their glory days, they find themselves getting into the same trouble did years earlier, thanks mostly to Jim’s odd blundering sexuality and Stifler’s adeptness to finding trouble.
When past loves Vicky (Tara Reid) and Heather (Mena Suvari) come into town for the reunion, strong feelings emerge from both Oz and Kevin that threaten their current relationships. With the same problems most adults face and the mundane tasks of life, the friends must find either closure from the past or a renewed love for their life, but by the time the reunion weekend ends, all must be ready to go back to their separate lives, hopefully with a with the one they love and a better perspective.
When I first heard that they were making another film in the “American Pie” franchise, I thought it would be a direct-to-DVD sequel like many others, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the entire main cast was returning for it. I thought they must have something great to show if everyone came back on board for it.
And while there are some actual emotional scenes in the films, quite a few gross-out jokes and many great cameos from faces of the past, “American Reunion” is strictly a film for the fans — so if you liked the original film you will probably enjoy this one as well. If you weren’t among those who found the high school hijinks funny, then stay away, you will not enjoy this movie. “American Reunion” follows the same formula as the original “American Pie” and is successful at its many nods to the history of the franchise. It shows these characters who have drastically changed in the same scenarios as the past, so the fans will enjoy that. There is a lot of relationship drama in the middle, but you know how it will and should end.
When we catch up with this assorted group of friends eight years after “American Wedding,” time has moved on but not all of them have moved on with the times. Yes, they have grown up in the literal sense of the word, but not all of their lives have progressed as planned and most of them aren’t happy. It is quite a realistic portrayal of how people in their thirties feel sometimes: lost and looking for answers.
As most of the best jokes come from surprises, I can’t talk about specifics, but I will say that once again Sean William Scott’s character as Stifler steals every scene he is in and he really brings the comedy. Another great performance is by Eugene Levy as Jim’s dad, Noah Leventstein, who for the very first time not only gets to break loose but also is on the receiving end of some advice-giving. His character is, as always, funny with the dry humor and great straight-faced delivery of some hysterical lines. And an “American Pie” film wouldn’t be complete with Stifler’s mom, played by Jennifer Coolidge. She has become one of the funniest women in films, in my opinion, and her small but hilarious roles in everything she does can crack a smile on me just when I see her onscreen. There are many other great cameos from the past, some characters you might even have forgotten about, but instantly will remember as soon as they pop up on the big screen.
One thing “American Reunion” does right is embodying the ’90s spirit throughout the film with its use of music. Song after song came on and I was instantly transported to my own past which made me remember seeing “American Pie” when I was in my teens. The feeling of nostalgia helped with some of the cliched moments because “American Pie” was one of the films that started a new genre of R rated high school comedies in the late ’90s, which helped to make movies like “Superbad” possible.
Although “American Reunion” has many great laughs, it seems focused on appeasing the hardcore fans of the franchise and doesn’t really bother with trying to impress newcomers. If you liked the humor and scenarios of the past films, then you will like them once again, because like many of its characters the series hasn’t changed much in the past 13 years.
“American Reunion” is rated R for crude and sexual content, nudity, language, brief drug use and arrives in theaters April 6.
. . .
“Like” It’s Just Movies on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/itsjustmovies.