Synopsis: Get ready as the whole American Pie gang returns to East Great Falls for the first time since their legendary senior year to turn their reunion into the most unforgettable weekend since high school. Old friends will reconnect, old flames will reignite, and everyone will rediscover just how much fun you can pack into one outrageous reunion. Starring Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Seann William Scott and Eugene Levy.
American Reunion 7.5
eyelights: the full cast’s return. the solid comedy writing.
eyesores: its minor contrivances. Chris’ dance number.
“Don’t mess with the class of ’99, bitch!”
Well, I don’t know what to say: I really enjoyed ‘American Reunion’, the 2012 follow-up to the ‘American Pie‘ series. Was the bar set so low that ‘American Reunion’ could do no wrong? Or is ‘American Reunion’ actually a significantly better film than its predecessors?
Well, it certainly appeared like it to me.
Frankly, my impression is that the overall package is more solid, though it’s not without its faults. Forget the fact that its domestic box office gross was weaker than ‘American Wedding‘, it made bank overseas and it was rated pretty damn highly for a sex comedy.
As the title suggests, it’s a reunion film, bringing back all the characters and cast together for the first time in nearly a decade. And, yes, everyone is here this time (unlike in the last one), although some of them (ex: Jessica and Nadia) only appear in cameos.
Jim: He’s still married to Michelle and they have a young son together. Though their sex life has dwindled, what with adult life taking over, he’s still up to his old tricks.
Kevin: He’s now married and works from home. He cooks for his spouse and watches girly shows with her. Desperate for some guy time, he calls the boys together for a reunion.
Chris: He’s a sports commentator and minor TV star due to a stint on a celebrity dance show. His girlfriend is Mia, a blonde party girl. But he still secretly longs for Heather.
Finch: He’s bloomed since the first film, being now a world traveler and a much more mature character than the others. But he hides a secret about his life that will be revealed.
Stifler: He’s still a party boy, living as though it were still 1999. He can’t understand why the others have gotten so boring – or why he wasn’t invited to their reunion.
Michelle: She’s mellowed out considerably since high school, being now a mom, with greater responsibilities. But she keeps her naughty side alive, sometimes in secret.
Vicky: Who knows what she’s up to? She pops in, but she’s become a shell of a character, seemingly an L.A. party girl type – but nothing is disclosed about her life.
Heather: She’s paired up with a heart surgeon who secretly wishes that she were less conventional. Her medical career has taken off, and she still longs for Chris.
Jessica: She’s switched team and shows up long enough to introduce her girlfriend. Beyond that, we know very little about her life. Not that we knew her much in the first place.
Nadia: She pops in at the most bizarre time, says “hi” and disappears. No great loss. She’s in a relationship with a guy who vaguely resembles Jim, her lost love.
Sherman: He’s been married, has a son and is divorced. He’s no longer as much of a geek, but it doesn’t take much for Stifler to briefly reawaken the Shermanator.
Milf dude: Interestingly enough, John Cho’s Milf dude shows up quite a lot in the picture. He’s in charge of the high school reunion and feels the loss of the other Milf dude.
Stifler’s mom: She’s still drinking hard and seducing men. She’s at odds with Stifler, who still lives at home and is still having parties while she hides in her room.
Jim’s dad: He’s now a widow and he’s lonely, always trying to find time with Jim, who’s in town for the reunion. So Jim takes the time to convince his dad to start dating.
Finch’s mom: ???
While the picture is really just about everyone touching base and reconnecting, it still has plenty of raunchy and outrageous humour throughout. After all, Stifler is part of the pack (he finds a way in when he bumps into the boys at the bar): he gets the party started.
And it’s quite the party: First they drink the whole night away. The next evening, they go to a beach party filled with high schoolers getting drunk and flirty. Then Stifler holds his traditional house party. And then, of course, there’s their high school reunion.
Party! Party! Party!
There’s a lot terrific bits throughout:
- As has become tradition, Jim finds a way to embarrass himself in the opening scene: once his son is in bed and Michelle goes to take a bath, he decides to masturbate to some online porn. But then his kid pops up so he slaps the laptop down – on his penis. Having injured himself, he goes to the bathroom and finds Michelle getting sexy with the showerhead. Oops. Pretty funny stuff.
- This leads to a terrific subplot about Jim and Michelle’s sex lives, which they discuss and agree to work on. I loved their initial discussion; awkward though it would have been for them, they were still open about it. Nice. There was no accusations, just disappointment – and commitment. They’re an awesome couple. Whoever would have thought this would happen during ‘American Pie’?
- Stifler runs the roost at work – or so he likes to think, though he’s just an assistant. He’s still very immature, and was forced by his mom to get a job – so he has no sense of propriety. What was funny was how utterly inappropriate he was around the office. He’s likely an HR nightmare and is a lawsuit waiting to happen. But that’s what makes him so funny; he’s a totally naive douchebag.
- Stifler gets the others wasted when they get together, and Jim wakes up on the kitchen floor at his dad’s (whom he and Michelle are visiting while they’re in town) – with no bottom on. He doesn’t know what’s happened and neither do we. But, before he can even try to figure it out, Michelle comes in with her former band camp friend Selena – putting Jim in a hilariously awkward position.
Two words: Transparent lid.
- Jim meets up with Kara, the girl he used to babysit. Now grown up, she flirts with him, though she already has a jerk boyfriend. In a later scene, her bf steals the tops from a bunch of sunbathing beauties at the beach, and our gang try to stop him. After failing, they decide to get revenge. But Stifler’s idea of revenge is far more elaborate than the others thought. Of course it is.
The sight of him sitting on that cooler put a smile on my face.
- The boys end up at a beach party, full of lovely hotties. That alone is worth the price of admission. But what makes the scene terrific is that most of the characters by that point are in town, so they all touch base: Chris and Heather, Kevin and Vicky, …etc. Meanwhile, Jim is trying to prevent being left alone with Kara, and Finch is finding an affinity with Selena. It’s a good time.
- Since Kara’s boyfriend couldn’t make it to the party (no thanks due to Stifler’s earlier antics), Jim offers to give her a lift back – she lives next door, after all. But she’s way drunk and was expecting to lose her virginity that night, being her 18th birthday and all. Now that her bf isn’t there, she’s all over Jim – until she passes out, and he calls the boys to help him sneak her home.
Though it’s a convoluted scene, it’s not completely absurd and it has its moments. In previous installments, this would have been cringe-worthy.
- Jim gets his dad to try online dating and, together with Michelle, they help him out and boost his confidence. Since he needs to get out of the house, they invite him along to Stifler’s house party – in which he proceeds to get totally wasted drunk and winds up in Stifler’s mom’s room. It was actually nice to see Jim’s dad have fun without being awkward and embarrassing. And scoring too.
In fact, part of the fun in ‘American Reunion’ is the fact that Jim’s dad is still a dork, but he’s not nearly as ridiculous as in previous films. Here, he and Jim have awkward conversations that are heartfelt and meaningful. It made him much more endearing than before.
The rest of the film devolves into the usual confrontations and resolutions, but it’s done in a way that didn’t seem too obvious. Granted, the high school reunion brought absolutely nothing new to the plate, but, frankly, it all felt rather satisfying to me in the end.
One thing that I really liked is that the gags were far less contrived than in previous installments. I laughed a fair bit, but I also never cringed in the face of truly poor humour – something that used to happen a lot. The gags served the story, not the other way around.
So, ultimately, though this would seem blasphemous to fans of the original, I think that “American Reunion’ is my favourite film of the series. I know that it’s completely out of line with sequels, which are traditionally supposed to get worse as the series’ wear on.
But I’m now looking forward to the next reunion, if ever there is another.
Wow… I never would have thought that at the end of ‘American Wedding’.
Date of viewing: September 11, 2016