All the American Pie characters we met a little more than a decade ago are returning to East Great Falls for their high-school reunion. In one long-overdue weekend, they will discover what has changed, who hasn’t and that time and distance can’t break the bonds of friendship.
It’s been thirteen years since Jason Biggs made love to a freshly baked apple pie and not much has changed as the old gang return to their Michigan hometown for a reunion.
The lives of Jim Levenstein (Biggs) and his high school pals have moved on since American Pie’s original outing: Jim is a husband (to Alyson Hannigan’s Michelle) and father, Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is happily married, Oz (Chris Klein) is a minor celebrity, Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) has been travelling the world and Stifler (Seann William Scott) is, well, still the Stifmesiter. Despite having two sequels (American Pie 2 and American Wedding) and four direct-to-DVD films in the bag, the franchise feels like it has finally come home, with all of the cast members returning for one last hurrah, including Kevin’s high school love Vicky (Tara Reid), former choir girl Heather (Mena Suvari) and a host of cameos from the 1999 film. Needless to say, “Jim’s Dad” (Eugene Levy) and “Stifler’s Mom” (Jennifer Coolidge) are back and on top form, gifted with some of the film’s best dialogue.
American Pie: Reunion is not a masterpiece but delivers in exactly the way you expect. Awash with crude gags and call backs to the previous movies, the film focuses on Jim’s relationship with his friends as usual. Nothing much has changed in the group dynamic: Stifler is an idiot, Kevin is boring, Oz is weak and Finch is pretentious. Jim manages to get himself in trouble and jeopardize his relationship in an attempt to resist the advances of former babysitting charge Kara (Ali Cobrin), now an infatuated high school student. The video of Jim’s infamous bedroom encounter with Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth) is still a meme in his hometown, the lady in question arriving at the reunion with a Jim-alike partner.
The film dips in and out of the other storylines, not able to spend much time dwelling on any individual character in an attempt to ram in as much nostalgia as possible. The female characters aren’t afforded much screen time, a real shame in the case of Suvari, who – no mean feat – brought a real heart to the original among a plethora of bonding males: indicative of the franchise’s inherit sexism but by no means unexpected. Jim and his friends are now adults with different problems, but are inherently the same people they were in high school, much like the film itself which does little to develop any of the characters past our previous knowledge of them.
Perhaps the real triumph of American Pie: Reunion is the coupling of Levy and Coolidge – it’s definitely worth staying for the post-credits sting for that one.