Film review: American Pie ReunionBy Kim Francis
May 09, 2012
If you’re experiencing serious withdrawal symptoms from a dearth of laddish japes and lewd humour, you need suffer no more – because the original American Pie team is back, nine years after their last outing.
Where third instalment American Pie: The Wedding charted the bringing together of the high school friends and family of Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) for their impending marriage, American Pie: Reunion once again assembles the sex-obsessed group of guys and gals we’re all familiar with – this time for one last hurrah on the occasion of their high school reunion.
Most of the old crew -– Jim, Michelle, Oz (Chris Klein), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Finchy (Eddie Kaye Thomas), Heather (Mena Suvari) and Vicky (Tara Reid) – have left their gawky, awkward, sexually inexperienced selves behind as they tackle the landmarks of adulthood – marriage, parenthood and responsibilities.
But as they congregate on their old stomping ground, they’re thrown right back into the mix, with old feelings, temptations and situations resurfacing. A doddle for this group of morally-upstanding grown ups to deal with, right?
Well, maybe, if it wasn’t for Stifler (Seann William Scott). The only one of the group that hasn’t progressed mentally, emotionally, or in any way whatsoever, it’s going to be harder than it seems to make it through the reunion unscathed…
The American Pie films have certainly never been bastions of morality, and from the very first super-successful film in the franchise they’ve had a distasteful misogynistic streak running through, tempered in the original by the likeability of the characters and the (albeit juvenile) laughs on offer.
However, in this latest offering from a franchise that relies on bawdy comedy, the scenarios make even more uncomfortable viewing as they threaten to tip over into totally inappropriate territory. And at the centre, you’ll usually find Stifler.
With the majority of the characters exhibiting a strong moral code, the overall tone is less rage-inducingly sexist but there are those scenes that are… well, they’re just offensive and off-putting.
The scenes where Stifler attempts to steal a glance and a grope of a naked and comatose teenage girl are skin-crawling.
A mix of comedy (there are a smattering of laugh out loud moments), wince-worthy sequences and nostalgia, American Pie: Reunion is more watchable than you might think despite the misogyny, and fans of the coarse sex comedy series probably won’t be disappointed.
As it looks back over the series, recalls key moments and rounds out the tale of the eight friends, American Pie: Reunion certainly feels like a swansong but the business it’s done since its release suggests audiences are still in the market for more vulgar gross-out humour from Jim Levenstein & co.