American Reunion could not be a more perfect title for the closing chapter in the American Pie series. We first met the gang of sex-crazy teens in 1999 and what set that sex farce apart was its attention to developing characters that people truly cared about. It spawned two official sequels, a slew of direct-to-DVD related films and now returns for what is a reunion on multiple levels.
The gang is gathering in their hometown for their high school reunion and although many of them have completely changed in the years since graduation, once they are all together, with all the insane hijinx, it appears that this circle of friends produces the same hormonally driven madness we adored in American Pie.
Jim and Michelle (Jason Biggs and Alyson Hannigan) are married with a child. They are a tad sexually frustrated as the spark has extinguished since the birth of their baby. When Jim gets horny, hilarity ensues. The iconic pie scene of the first film has had the ante raised as Jim finds himself naked from the waist down in the kitchen after a night with his high school buds. Michelle and a friend enter the room and all he can find to shield his manhood from full view is a clear saucepan cover.
It is that type of humor that still permeates the Pie franchise. And, it is also the same reason that people adored the first one and will treasure the experience of the Reunion.
Everyone’s favorite character, Stifler (Seann William Scott), has not left their hometown and is working as a temp, simply to keep busy. He doesn’t need the money -- Stifler’s mom is loaded. But when his pals come to town for the get-together, he sees it as his chance to relive the guys’ glory days and get out of his life rut.
How American Reunion filmmakers Adam Herz and Jon Hurwitz (A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas) have triumphed is they, first, could not have been a more perfect selection to close out the series. Lifelong fans of the first film, their love letter to it is present on every frame of the latest. There are moments of reality that they do not shy away from, such as showing that although Stifler is up for more raucous fun, perhaps his bros have grown up and perhaps it is time for him as well. That moment, thankfully, does not come until the third act. And there is no right or wrong when it comes to the realization. But, the funny, laugh-out-loud moments abound that make audiences thrilled that although the gang has changed ever so slightly, they are still prone to the type of situational comedy that endeared us to the first film.
Sure, there are drawbacks. For one, Tara Reid’s acting is simply unwatchable. Not that she was ever the best thespian in the world, but her performance is painful. Also, some may see the high school party scene as a bit creepy. But, true fans of the series will merely see it as another extension of the libido-driven mayhem that this group of friends always seem to find themselves in.
There are other moments that hats have to go off to the filmmakers. One such moment is the pairing of Stifler’s mom and Jim’s dad (Jennifer Coolidge and Eugene Levy). It is a refreshing turn to a film series that could have easily gone stale before the final credits rolled.