‘American Reunion’ Review

Published 2 years ago by , Updated May 30th, 2012 at 1:20 pm,

American Reunion starring Sean Williams Scott and Jason Biggs Review American Reunion Review

Screen Rant’s Kofi Outlaw Reviews American Reunion

If you were in high school (as I was) in the late ’90s / early ’00s, American Pie was a defining piece of cinema. Not only did it mirror (with unnerving accuracy) the teen angst surrounding sex and sexuality at the time, it also ushered in the era of the R-rated, coming-of-age raunch-comedy sub-genre – a mix of explicit humor and genuine sentiment that has been imitated again and again in films like Superbad, Knocked Up - or any movie that’s even loosely connected with Judd Apatow and his gang of collaborators.

American Reunion brings the original Pie gang back at a time where the actors are well (and visibly) past their own younger years, and the world has grown finicky about what qualifies as quality raunch-com. It’s also a time when the American Pie brand has become synonymous with shoddy, direct-to-DVD spinoffs.

That said, does Reunion stand as a worthy addition to the franchise – or has this Pie gotten too crusty and stale to provide any pleasure?

The story keeps with real-world time and sees Jim (Jason Biggs), his wife Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), and friends Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Oz (Chris Klein), Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and Stifler (Seann William Scott) all back in East Great Falls for their 13-year high school reunion. (Side note: if the notion of a ’13-year reunion’ is too upsetting or distracting, this film is not for you.)

As the boys get back together, they find that their high school worries about getting laid and partying have been replaced with adult worries about fidelity, parenthood and careers – which doesn’t stop them from once again falling into the kind of gross-out hijinks they experienced back in the good old days. What starts out as a chance re-gathering soon devolves into an epic weekend of pranks, mishaps, sexy shenanigans - and of course, a few Pie-flavored lessons on life, love, and growing older.

american reunion trailer American Reunion Review

Jason Biggs and Alyson Hannigan in 'American Reunion'

American Reunion accomplishes what other belated sequels (and arguably, American Wedding) failed to do: capture the spirit of the original, while simultaneously updating the story to offer something fresh. Co-writers/co-directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay) clearly saw the balance between comedy, characters, and sentiment that made the original Pie work so well, and they preserve that essence in Reunion while also letting the more fluid aspects of the film (the aged actors and modernized context) work around that core.

This wise decision sets up a well-paced lineup of comedic set pieces, in which we get that familiar American Pie flavor (explicit comedy and plenty of nudity), from a whole new perspective. Instead of trying to do anything (and we do mean anything) in order to lose their virginity, or hook-up during the summer, we watch the adult versions of these characters getting down and dirty for the sake of showing-up the new generation of teens, or rekindling a waning romance – or attempting to be responsible adults, but not quite knowing how. Granted, for teen viewers, the more adult-oriented  subject matter may not be as engaging; but for us late-20s/early 30-somethings who grew into adulthood alongside these characters, the film touches on some timely topics (fidelity, responsibility) in often hilarious ways, while also offering a perfect through-line between all four films, which allows for some ‘from then to now’ reflection on what it means to grow up.

This nostalgia factor is compounded by the presence of so many familiar faces from the original film, plenty of Easter eggs that reference events in the franchise’s history, and even the settling of some unresolved matters – all of which offer a sweet bit of extra enjoyment for longtime fans. Without spoiling any of the surprises, the filmmakers have literally reached out and included just about every American Pie character imaginable, and they find great ways to implement them into this new story without feeling overly-contrived, or utterly distracting. Even with a brief moment of screen time, all of the returning players get a chance to make an impression – and, hopefully, bring a smile to fans’ faces.

american reunion cast American Reunion Review

Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Jim (Jason Biggs), Stifler (Seann William Scott), Oz (Chris Klein) and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) in 'American Reunion'

The principle characters – Jim, Kevin, Oz, Finch and Stifler – are all good to have back on hand; although, admittedly, some of their respective story lines are a little shortchanged, or aren’t all that interesting. Jim and Oz have the most engaging / entertaining subplots, with Jim of course being the central focus. Stifler, as always, is treated as something of a side character (even though, ironically enough, Seann William Scott has had the most successful career out of the bunch), so his story is only half of one, really. Kevin and Finch have the clunkiest and least-interesting story arcs – but then again, that was always the case with these American Pie films, and the two characters aren’t so interesting that we want to see more from them.

Dania Ramirez (X-Men 3) gets shoehorned into the cast as a classmate we’ve (conveniently) never met, in order to expand Finch’s storyline. While she’s a fine actress, her character is still superfluous and unnecessary – and while she adds very little, she doesn’t take away that much, either. Other pieces of Pie-brand eye-candy include the return of Alyson Hannigan as Jim’s wife, Michelle (now given more depth to work from); Mena Suvari as Oz’s ex-flame, Heather (also given more to work with); Kevin’s high school sweetheart, Vicky (Tara Reid, given less to do, thankfully); 30 Rock bombshell Katrina Bowden as Oz’s “free-spirited” Hollywood girlfriend (she’s hot and hilarious); and Ali Cobrin as Kara, the girl next door that Jim used to babysit, now all grown up and filled out (leading to much R-rated hilarity). As far as sexy ladies go, American Reunion is still delivering the goods.

Eugene Levy and Jennifer Coolidge in American Reunion American Reunion Review

Eugene Levy and Jennifer Coolidge in 'American Reunion'

Instead of being used for cameo or peripheral laughs, Jim’s Dad (Eugene Levy) and Stifler’s mom (Jennifer Coolidge) are actually given something to do in this film. Between them, the veteran comedic actors manage to bring some elderly wisdom and genuine moments of sentiment to the story, as they convey the bittersweet perspective of single, middle-aged adults who have watched their children stumble and eventually grow into parents and adults themselves. A scene between the two iconic parents is both hilarious and slightly frightening, in its depiction of just how much parents know about their kids.

For those who were never big lovers of the American Pie franchise, I would rate this movie as probably being a three-and-a-half star experience, based solely on the quality of the comedic moments throughout the film. For anyone who is familiar with, or is a bonafide fan of this franchise, it’s a four-star experience when you add the nostalgia of watching the gang back together, doing what they (still) do so well. By the end, you – like the characters – will likely be ready for another slice of some Pie before another decade has passed. If that’s not an accomplishment for a Rated-R comedy series old enough to be a teenager, I don’t know what is.

American Reunion is now playing in theaters. It is Rated R for crude and sexual content throughout, nudity, language, brief drug use and teen drinking.

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For an in-depth discussion of the film by the Screen Rant team check out our American Reunion episode of the SR Underground podcast.

Our Rating:

4 out of 5
(Excellent)

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TAGS: american pie, american pie 4, american reunion

42 Comments

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  1. Wow! This is an unexpected (read encouraging) surprise, Kofi.
    I may have to see this in theaters now. Thanks!

  2. Is Stifler’s mom a GILF yet?

  3. I was planning on seeing it anyways but now that its got a SR 4/5 rating I’m definitely going to see it.

  4. So I guess the trailer didn’t show the funniest parts then? Because I didn’t find anything in that trailer funny at all…

    • Ken J,

      You’re always an enigma when it comes to movie tastes. The trailer shows SOME things – but the rest in pretty much in the same vein.

      • Um, ok, if you say so. So I guess the super predictable part in the beginning when he’s caught masterbating was hilarious to you? I saw that coming even before he started… And a lot of the other gags were also not that creative or witty. But again, that’s just the trailer, haven’t seen the movie. Was asking if the movie itself actually has some funnier parts than the trailer… But sorry that my taste in humor is different from yours. I guess that makes me weird… But then again, maybe being normal is not such a compliment, lol. :-P

        • Ken… that masturbation scene wasn’t supposed to surprise you… are any of us surprised that people do it??? NO…

          That scene was executed to first, bring you back into the American Pie world with a common idea of Jim’s character and then second, update it by showing you he is now a father and they have a child. That was purpose of that scene. To make you think… oh same old Jim… but wait!!! They have children, he’s a dad… Thus bring on the new updated themes and life lessons.

          • Not that he does it, that he was going to get caught doing it. Either way, I guess I don’t have any attachment to any of these people so I don’t really care about what’s the same or what has changed. No real nostalgia value for me, so the trailer was just “bleh” for me…

        • Ken… that masturbation scene wasn’t supposed to surprise you… are any of us surprised that people do it??? NO…

          That scene was executed to first, bring you back into the American Pie world with a common idea of Jim’s character and then second, update it by showing you he is now a father and they have a child. That was the purpose of that scene. To make you think… oh same old Jim… but wait!!! They have children, he’s a dad… Thus bring on the new updated themes and life lessons.

  5. Kofi gave me hope for this movie. Thanks!

  6. This movies going to be great!!

    http://ll2.de/JZM/

  7. Well I guess I have to eat a big ole’ plate of crow. ;)
    I was someone who brought up the 13yr reunion being weird and I thought I’d be reading at best a 2 1/2 star review this afternoon.
    But this is a case when I’m happy I was wrong. I loved the 1st but wasn’t a fan of the sequels so I’m glad to hear this is a return to form for the series.

  8. I just watched this movie, and I must say F*$%ING AWESOME. This movie was hilarious. Just like the other Pie movies ( except Wedding, somehow that one just didn’t do it for me) with the original cast, the characters are so relatable. I was class of 98 and watching these guys is just like watching me and my friends, although a little more extreme. These characters and what they deal with, are so relevant. When I was in highschool, the things my friends and I did, after highschool trying to maintain those friendships, and now trying to keep my love life with my wife with a three year old. These writers GET IT, they nail it. The actors pull it off fantastically, and the comedy, though low brow, is funny. It’s believable, despite the outrageousness of the situations. I give this movie 5 stars and would tell anyone from my generation that this movie is an absolute MUST SEE.

  9. The movie was hilarious. Very much on par with the first and second movie. There were quite a few moments where I could not stop laughing. If you love the other movies, this one is a must. Now we must wait 30 or so years for American Retirement!

  10. the best movie i’ve seen in a long time! it was hilarious! i love all four of these movies and i want to go and see it again! cant wait till i can buy it on DVD then i’ll have an American Pie marathon!

  11. Will they continue this series because nobody besides sean williams scott is getting any work?

    • You need to watch more TV. Jim and Michelle are working

    • Where is Sean Williams Scott working outside of American Pie sequels. I see he got executive producer creds.

      • …in drug rehab.

  12. My son took me to this yesterday and warned me that I might think it was too raunchy; but I reminded him I thought The Hangover was very raunchy and I liked it. Well, I thought the movie was OK. I did laugh a few times but overall, I don’t get what all the fuss is about. I guess I’m in the same boat as Ken J :-D . 2.5-3/5 for me.

    • Man Kahless, you’re so odd and hard to figure out when it comes to movie tastes. You’re supposed to think this is hilarious like everyone else… *shakes head*

      :-P

      • Kahless isn’t an enigma – he’s pretty clear about his tastes.

        Nobody can ever guess what you’re thinking or what you’ll say, or what the hell you’re going to like or dislike, Ken J. You’re fairly erratic.

        Trust me, we’ve discussed it often enough over a multi-year, buddy.

        And please don’t put words in my mouth – never said you HAD to like the movie. DEFINITELY never said that “everyone else” liked it. Please point out where that appears anywhere in my statement….

        • I don’t know what movies you would like or dislike either. Does that make you an enigma?? *raises eyebrow* lol :-D

  13. just got back from seeing it. Much better than 2 and 3. The more things change, the more they stay the same. I like the part when …..and then that other part where….and the ending when…..it was very good. I was very happy they did such a good job on this one.

  14. I just got back from seeing this and loved it! I was in high school myself when the first one was released, so I too have grown up with this franchise and these characters. Reunion, is much better then Wedding. I would more then welcome another Pie film! Part 2 has always been my favorite. I would rank the Pie movies as follows…

    1. American Pie 2
    2. American Reunion
    3. American Pie
    4. American Wedding.

  15. Seann William Scott,
    I liked your movies until now. I can’t believe that you choose to be a stereotype in this movie, where you called your boss with …leprecon*.
    I disprove you.

    • You can’t believe SWS would play Stifler like Stifler? Have you not watched the other AP movies?

  16. Went on a American Pie Marathon today watching all the movies and I really enjoyed Reunion. I would probably go along with Kofi’s review giving it a four to fans of the series and I liked the natural progression’s these characters went through. Eugene Levy was fantastic and Seann W. Scott is great once again providing many laughs and a good deal of heart. If you are a fan of the series I don’t think you will be disappointed and if you aren’t a fan but like a comedy I would still recommend Reunion.

  17. The 2nd better than the 1 st. Most sequels buddy aren’t better than original. It all starts with original. Bring it.

  18. Just saw the movie and loved it. At 22 years of age, I remembered why and how the first movie worpped my fragile mind at 9 yrs old. If you saw 1 thru 3 when they came out, you simply love it. The only thing that was kinda iffy was that Michelle’s sister (in American Wedding made it seem like she and Stifler lived “happily ever after”) was not mentioned or nowhere to be found. Besides that, if your a fan you most likely enjoyed it and wouldnt mind seeing another b4 the decade is over.

  19. I saw it last night and it was one of the funniest American pie movies thus far. Stifler was the same ol Stifler and Jim and the boys were just as good. Didn’t like he fight out come but over all I suggest if you love the first three you gonna love this one.

  20. at least Oz and Heather ended up back together. I think the LA Times needs to see a movie before putting a movie down. They were so wrong about this one.

    • Chimpdaddy…

      Agreed, one should see a movie before putting it down… I also think you put “spoiler alert” before listing specific details of movies before making viewable to the public.

      Thanks

  21. My wife and I went to see it and laughed the entire time. It brought back so many good memories of the first two, especially Jim’s awkwardness and ability to get into the most awkward moments.

    Overall, it is a worthy addition.

  22. I freaking loved it. I was surprised how much I ended up loving it. I’ve seen the spin off sequels – at least The Naked Mile and Band Camp – but I never saw American Wedding and couldn’t tell you much about American Pie. I loved that they brought just about everyone back though.

    My question is, why not use some of the kids from the spinoffs? Like Stiffler’s cousin? I thought that would have been interesting

    • so I’ve also seen Beta House. The only spinoff I haven’t seen was the Book of Love.

  23. LOVED THIS MOVIE. I’m a HUGE fan of AP1, AP2, A.W…..This is totally a wonderful addition to the franchise!!!!! My husband and I (27 and 28) went to see it on opening nt and it was HILARIOUS! We both agree that is by far one of the best movies we’ve seen in a long time :)

  24. This one really made me laugh to the point that I felt 6 packs on my stomach, agree on the comments above this one was better than American Wedding but I put American Pie as my #1 its a classic which I grew up watching

  25. okay so i am extremely happy with this reveiw becouse alot of other critics have smashed the movie but i dont understand why the movie was a mixture of what high school used to be and what it is now and it was very pleasing to the fact that it was the same idea of the old ones becouse it was still a comeing to age movie they were just comeing to a different age

  26. Great movie as good if not better than 1,2 and 3

  27. all the parts of this movie is fantastic loves this movie..american pie and now americal renuion..

  28. great just like all the others. i just wish Kevin and Vicky were together like they were in the 1st American Pie other than that this is a good one and funny to so i liked it. all the American Pie movies were awesome and Stifler is well he is still same old Stifler an awesome guy .if i could change any thing about the movie it would be Kevin and Vicky. i wish they could have been married. and Jim’s mom being alive because his mom died but other than that this is a great movie!

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