American Pie: Reunion Review
Given the dross calling itself teen comedy that has followed – hello, Project X – American Pie 2 and American Pie: The Wedding aren’t all that bad in hindsight. That’s not something you can say about the four DTV sequels that have seemingly tried to wipe away all the good that the original American Pie did in revitalising the teen comedy genre. A welcome introduction then to the series for Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, the genius duo behind the Harold & Kumar trilogy, who have come to save the American Pie brand and do a sterling job of it too. American Pie: Reunion may not be the most original comedy ever, but it delivers more than enough laughs to make it a winning return – and expected closure to the series – with the sentimental value of being reacquainted with characters we last saw in 2003 a lovely added bonus.
Key to it all are the performances with the whole cast enjoying an easy rapport and strong chemistry, meaning you’ll welcome them back as if they were your old friends. Stealing the show as ever though is Eugene Levy as Jim’s Dad who, alongside his ever-frank relationship advice, delivers the film’s biggest laughs when he gets drunk and starts chatting up Stifler’s Mom (Jennifer Coolidge). A close second though is Seann William Scott whose manic performance still pulls off the not-inconsiderable feat of making Stifler a completely likeable character, in spite of his many flaws, and gives the film a loose energy it sometimes needs with the rest of the gang fairly dry and reserved.
If there’s to be one potential issue with the film, it’s that how it will appeal to a casual viewer as a lot of it is focussed on knowing nods to the past. Despite many mentions of how things have changed – such as Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) having a two-year-old son – its central gag is that once the gang get back together, nothing in particular changes, such as Jim finds himself in another embarrassing kitchen-based situation. While fans will have warm memories provoked by these nods, others might not be taken in by situations that we’ve seen many a time in teen comedies since American Pie and might find the whole affair a bit predictable. This isn’t helped by some tacked-on final act drama that resolves itself almost as quickly as it starts, with no real reason for its solution.
That being said, it’s hard to imagine anyone coming to what is, technically, the fourth film in a franchise without prior knowledge and Hurwitz and Schlossberg are smart enough to deliver some pitch-perfect moments for the gang; Stifler in particular gets a glorious, character-defining moment and there are some perfectly-judged cameos from the likes of Jessica (Natasha Lyonne) and the Shermanator (Chris Owen) in the brilliant climactic reunion scenes which also deliver a fair few moments to bring dust to your eye. American Pie: Reunion may have its flaws, but thanks to the care shown to the characters by all involved, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable send-off to the 90s’ most lovable losers.