Editor’s note: This review first was published April 6, 2012.
‘American Pie’ sequel a hit-and-miss rehash
“American Reunion,” the fourth installment in the raunchy “American Pie” franchise, reunites us with the awkward teenagers who, in 1999, did everything they could to lose their virginity. This time around, they’re all grown up, if not necessarily wiser for the years in between.
And while “Reunion” has its funny moments (mostly involving bodily functions or nudity), it does little in the way of invention, instead seeking to reintroduce “Stifler’s Mom” and “This one time, at band camp …” back into the cultural lexicon.
“Reunion,” directed by John Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg and written by those two and Adam Herz, is the latest foray into the raunchy comedy series, nearly a decade after 2003’s “American Wedding.” A sense of paternal pride seeps from the movie, as if it’s saying, “Hey, we went there first!” That “there” being excessive partying in the name of awkward sex and fear of vaguely homoerotic tendencies. (And there are plenty of both.)
But those teenagers, who defined the meaning of being “American,” have grown up. And they now are in various versions of adulthood, minus Stifler (Seann William Scott), who still lives with Mom (Jennifer Coolidge). Oz (Chris Klein) has his own TV show and a young, pretty girlfriend (Katrina Bowden). Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) still are part of the fray, and Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) still are married, though parenthood has slowed down their sex life.
The crew has gathered back in Great Falls, Mich., to attend the 10-year high school reunion. Along they way, the boys run into old flames, past acquaintances and familiar antics. There’s some new blood in the form of the 18-year-old Kara (Ali Cobrin), a high school senior who throws herself at Jim, her former babysitter. And while Jim does his best to deflect her lustful advances, it hardly discourages her from shedding her clothes whenever they are together. (“Reunion” had to earn its R rating, right?)
“Reunion,” long known for its brash and lecherous take on sex, doesn’t deviate from the course often. The brights spots, as with previous installments, still remain center on Jim’s disarming sweetness and Michelle’s hilarious lust. Biggs continues to draw the most realistic connection, if only because he’s willing to risk utter embarrassment in the name of decency.
And who can forget about Jim’s Dad (Eugene Levy)? Never has a father said so much while saying … well, so much. He’s probably the coolest cat in the room.
“American Reunion” is a bit of a mixed bag. Fans of the series will no doubt enjoy seeing the old gang partake in juvenile antics, but anyone new to the franchise will see little value here. It just goes to show only losers attend their high school reunions.
Two raunchy stars out of five.