Regardless of what the reviews or critics might have said, the original American Pie was a classic. It was funny, gross, inappropriate, strangely charming and filled with memorable lines and gags. It is still probably the most important film in the careers of all the actors involved, many of whom went on to (slightly) bigger and better things. Well, maybe only Sean William (Stifler) Scott and John Cho (one half of the “MILF” duo)…
Fast forward 13 years and the gang from the original is back in American Pie: Reunion, the film you knew was coming despite the two semi-lacklustre sequels and numerous straight-to-DVD spin-offs.
Fortunately, I am glad to say, Reunion is the second best film of the franchise because it infused the film with nostalgia by literally getting everyone back and because Stifler was at his absolute best as the hilarious bullying scumbag who refuses to grow up.
The premise is all in the title, and to be fair, not a whole lot happens in terms of plot. Jim, the guy who did the pie (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), the girl who one time went to band camp, are now married with a kid. They go back home for their 13thyear high school reunion (as opposed to the obligatory 10) and catch up with their old friends, some of whom have changed a lot while others have stayed the same.
I suppose it’s not a shock, considering the film launched their careers, but it was still amazing that they managed to get every single character from the original back for this one — even if it is just a small role or a cameo. The core cast, however, remains Jim and Stifler, the other three members of the gang, Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and Oz (Chris Klein), their love interests from the first film, Tara Reid, Jennifer Coolidge (Stifler’s mom) and Mena Suvari, and of course, Jim’s dad (Eugene Levy).
New additions include Katrina Bowden (from 30 Rock) as Oz’s girlfriend, Dania Ramirez (from TV’s Heroes) as a former band camp attendee, and Ali Cobrin as Kara, the “all grown up” hottie Jim once babysitted who of course stirs up plenty of trouble (sans clothing, for those interested). John Cho, who went on to become Harold from Harold and Kumar, also stepped up into a relatively key role despite only having a couple of fleeting scenes in the original.
Given that Pie made them stars, it came as no surprise that Biggs and Scott became executive producers on Reunion. Naturally, they dominated the film, a smart choice considering they are by far the two most memorable characters in the franchise.
Reunion switches predominantly between Jim’s awkward sexual gags, his cringe-worthy man-to-mans with his father, and Stifler being…well, Stifler, one of the most irritating, obnoxious and yet inexplicably loveable characters to ever hit the big screen. His introductory scene bordered on legendary and pretty much said all there is to say about his character.
Kevin was always kinda boring so he doesn’t do much, while Finch took a bit of a step back as they couldn’t find much interesting for him to say or do. Klein, despite being repeatedly called the worst actor ever, was in my humble opinion pretty funny as the incredibly camp Oz, displaying some of the same dorky charm he had in the original.
Reunion is by no means a classic in its own right, but it’s a harmless film because it doesn’t damage the legacy of the original. The actors are comfortable in the characters and the jokes, as recycled as many of them may be, are good enough to elicit some genuine laughs. For the fourth “core” film of a franchise a lot of us grew up with, that’s not too bad at all.
3.5 stars out of 5