“High school was awesome. But then we graduated and everybody started getting married and all that other stupid crap…”
The year I graduated high school I saw a movie about a group of friends who were graduating high school. That movie was American Pie. Needless to say, it was easy to relate to as I was at that very same moment in time as the characters were. And now, 13 years later, I’m at the same spot in my life as these character are in once again. Its pretty cool to have a series which aligns so well with my age group, and this is probably why I consider American Pie to be a modern comedy classic and why I enjoyed this latest Reunion.
American Reunion plays out much as you would expect. There’s a lot of touching upon what happened in the old movies as these character get back together, each with their own problems. We see them struggling with relationships, we see Jim have his classic embarrassing talks with his dad, and we see Stifler being an all-around jerk. Actually they do a pretty good job of touching upon old material without making it seem too much like a retread, like Hangover 2 did for example.
The movie does have some definite flaws however. The first of which is that the big set pieces are not nearly as engaging as those of the previous films. There’s a scene where Jim must sneak a naked girl into her parent’s house for example which lacks all the ingenuity and comedy of the classic set pieces like the Nadia webcast or the lesbians in the cottage. There simply weren’t a lot of laugh out loud moments.
The movie also felt a little loose (no pun intended). There were a lot of moments which felt out of place and which didn’t work well, like Oz being part of a celebrity dance reality show, for example. There’s also a character named Selena who had nothing to do with the original film. They said she was one of the band geeks, but the character was completely fabricated, and also completely useless. There was no need for her to be here, she just took time and attention away from the characters we want to see.
As for those characters, it was a lot of fun to hang out with them again. Jim was Jim, Kevin was Kevin, Finch was Finch and Oz was Oz. Most of the comedy came from Stifler mind you. In American Pie 2 and 3, they seemed to play up Stifler a little too much, while in the first film he was more of an hilarious second player. They do bring him into if more here, but in a way which really works. We really start to sympathize with him finally.
and of course, any scene with Jim’s Dad is hilarious, including a scene in the credits.
All in all, it could have been better, but nostalgia still makes it work.