It’s a very rare thing when a sequel this late in the game comes full-circle and ends up being of good quality. Let’s face it; The American Pie films aren’t that good. They’re not even considered cult-classics in my book, but they do hold a few key memorable scenes from 90’s comedies. The classic pie scene on the kitchen table, Stifler eating numerous disgusting items and the term band camp, are all memories of different days, days where teenage comedies didn’t need to be written clever or feature likable characters. No, they just had to have lots of sex and characters swearing as many times as possible.
American Reunion has some sex and plenty of vulgar language, but it does the unthinkable and attempts to become a serious film, with serious characters. By doing this it ultimately spells doom from the get-go. Scenes of wooden, lifeless dialogue go on for what seems like hours, while old and repetitive jokes get brought back up for one last laugh from whoever hasn’t seen the previous films before. American Reunion is a long, strenuous film that pushes even my tolerance for immature humor. It’s a vomit-inducing mess of a film, filled with shallow jokes, boring characters and painful memories of the first 3 films that don’t seem as bad after sitting through American Reunion.
Ten plus years have passed and the entire Pie gang heads back to their hometown for their late high school reunion. Jim (Jason Biggs), Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), Stifler (Seann William Scott), Oz (Chris Klein), Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) and literally every soul from the first and second Pie entries drop by for a visit. Life has changed and the older everyone gets the more the memories of the past seem to fade. Jim and Michelle are having intimacy issues, while Stifler is stuck working as an assistant for some ungrateful bastard.
Oz seems content with his life, scoring an attractive young girlfriend named Mia (Katrina Bowden). Kevin is living the dream of being happily married, which means he has to watch tons of Sunday night HBO programming with his wife, after he’s cooked dinner.
The only real mysterious one of the bunch is Finch, who’s disappeared after high school and traveled the world, seeking true love and adventures.
The gang is all grown up, yet the reunion seems to be the only thing worth living for.
After meeting up and discussing numerous fond memories, the gang falls quickly back into place. Their immature days of the past become the present as they face new life challenges with an old set of eyes. American Reunion quickly goes from being a stale comedy, full of recycled garbage, to a painfully heartless film that I wouldn’t even consider a comedy. It’s basically a 2 hour loop of constant gags that weren’t funny in the 90’s and still aren’t funny today.
Character progression is an afterthought to directors Hayden Schlossberg and Jon Hurwitz. Just because the characters have aged does not mean they’ve actually progressed. Each and every character in the film is just as unlikable and pathetic as the previous 3 entries. If anything, the core group of friends has retrogressed since their last appearance. Jim is still a dorky insecure husband with a teenage mind. His biggest problem isn’t the fact that he can’t have a pleasant sexual experience with his wife, it’s that he can’t seem to find the time to do it because he’s so busy caring for his next-door neighbor, who he used to babysit.
When the time comes to act like an adult and take care of a situation that pops up in the film, Jim does the complete opposite, which spirals into a run on scene full of stupidity and sadness. I might have laughed at Jim and his friends when they were in high school, because boys will be boys, but when a thirty year old man is scaling the roof of his neighbor’s house in attempt to flee from the topless teen that he babysat, I begin to feel kind of bad for Jim. It’s just sad at this point.
Stifler, the most obnoxious person from the previous Pie films, becomes the most interesting thing in Reunion. He hasn’t changed much, but that was always sort of Stifler’s thing. While everyone else was too busy maturing and growing into adults he was busy throwing crazy parties and getting laid.
Jason Biggs doesn’t do a damn thing to convince you that Jim should be allowed to have a child in his custody. He’s an imbecile. Seann William Scott still works as Stifler only because the rest of the cast plays the film way too seriously, Chris Klein more than the rest, but since when did we actually care about dramatic happenings between the Pie kids? I didn’t mind watching the original films because of the humorous situations they always managed to get themselves in, not because of their personal self-esteem issues.
Schlossberg and Hurwitz kill the tone of the film by continuously focusing on the drama. Just when Reunion finds its legs and lands a kind of funny joke, they sink the film back into the ground with a 20 minute scene between Klein and his old girlfriend, where they go back and forth discussing how much they used to be in love. This sort of thing might slide for any other series, but not the Pie series.
American Reunion manages to be the worst Pie film yet. I’ve only seen the original three, so I don’t count the straight-to-home-video sequels. Reunion is too slow, too boring and way too dramatic for a Pie film. The little jokes that are presented in the film aren’t all that funny. Seann William Scott remains the only character with a soul, while the rest of the cast takes turns trying to cry on camera or complain about their life problems. I thought a reunion was supposed to be fun and exciting, allowing you to relive some memories of the past while making new ones for the future? I guess they didn’t get the memo.
American Reunion – 5.5/10