Teen movies tend to follow the same formula of sex, booze and (sometimes inappropriate) nakedness. After films like National Lampoon’s Animal House and Porky’s, teen films delved into the John Hughes era and then a homemade apple pie changed everything and re-introduced the teen movie for a new generation.
For the iPod generation, American Pie is almost a rite of passage; you need to see it at least once in your teens. So, now almost 13 years later, it is strange to see Jim, Stifler and the gang to come back full circle.
American Reunion reunites the whole gang for their high school reunion, bringing up grown-up problems and unresolved feelings. Jim and Michelle have settled into married life, Oz has a new life in L.A, Kevin is also happily married, Finch has dropped off the grid and Stifler….is still an annoying a-hole.
Almost immediately, there is a problem. The characters are in their 30s and they cannot pull off the same strand of jokes that made American Pie series so popular. There is some awkwardness when we see everyone ‘acclimatise’ through high school memories and pulling off the same pranks they did when they were younger, but it is stuff that we have seen before – so unless you have a deep affinity to gross-out humour, it doesn’t really raise an eyebrow. Plus, the screen time is just the same as in the other films; American Reunion seems to be mostly about Jim, Stifler, Michelle and Jim’s Dad with Finch in a close second. Their poor co-stars haven’t got much of a shoo-in and if they do, their respective plots fail to make a lasting impression.
However, saying all that, the real charm of the film is seeing all of the original cast together – it really does make you smile. Since American Pie 2, it has been over a decade since we saw everyone (even Sherman and MILF guy #2- now Star Trek’s Sulu) in the same film and it is nostalgic to say the least. Kudos to executive producers Seann William Scott and Jason Biggs in helping getting the cast together for one more outing and Eugene Levy (Jim’s Dad) gets more screen time, which is absolutely justified.
His scenes with Stifler’s mom (Jennifer Coolidge) are a gem and makes you wish that they had more scenes together.
Overall, American Reunion is good-hearted and it is like seeing all friends back together, but reminiscing about the good times can only do do much – unless your life is shaped by American Pie.