None of this ‘American Pie: Presents…’ nonsense, this time the original cast are back. The gang are battling life in their early 30s and gearing up for their high school reunion. Jim and Michelle are having marital bedroom troubles, Kevin is a contented house-husband, Finch claims to be a certified world traveller, Oz is a successful TV sports host and Stifler – is exactly the same(!), now finding it hard to adjust to a life of responsibility.
The opening scene begins with a glimpse into Jim and Michelle’s married life – and ends with Jim’s ‘favourite sock’ landing on the head of his young son. Yep, this is an American Pie movie! That’s in the first few minutes, but it never really reaches that level of gross/shock again (perhaps aside from Stifler’s ‘bathroom experience’).
Of course all heading back to their beloved East Great Falls brings home that these guys are not teens anymore. It's Stifler’s clashes with the ‘Stiflers of today’ and his influence on the rest of the group that lead to arguably the funniest moments. When he organises one of his infamous parties, Stifler is mortified as to what a party full of 30-somethings now entails. Nobody’s drunk! Nobody’s having sex! So he decides to liven things up a bit by getting Jim’s Dad drunk. Cue cops arriving, Jim and Michelle exposed in full bondage regalia, and Jim’s Dad getting high with Stifler’s Mom.
The returning cast all clearly relished getting back into character, but the show is stolen by Eugene Levy: Jim’s Dad. As the rest of the cast have their little mis-adventures; he is quietly trying to rebuild his life after the death of his wife. His blossoming friendship with Stifler’s Mom actually leads to the most poignant moment of the entire series in a brief ‘end credits’ scene. It does! Or at least it would if that scene cut a few seconds earlier (you'll see what I mean!).
Story strands and old relationships running from the previous films are given closure. Even the ‘MILF’ guys have their sweet reconciliation moment after an undisclosed fall-out. And taunted for years about Finch sleeping with Stifler’s Mom, Stifler – shall we say – has the last laugh…
It does try to capture the gross-out and destructive elements of original, but with a group of horny teens now frustrated, responsible adults. Inevitably, it just falls short. They are new people with new problems. Everyone remembers what Jim did to the pie and what Stifler drank at the party and Jim’s video with Nadia (now gone viral to ‘relate to the YouTube generation’). People who haven’t even seen American Pie know about these moments, and the knack of creating these set pieces has always been the big strength of the series. People aren’t going to be talking about Amercian Pie: Reunion in years to come. But conversely, they aren’t going to be talking about how bad it was either.
Let’s face it, the people who are going to watch this will be 99% American Pie fans, and you can't really judge it without making reference to the originals. But that's what it thrives on, and that's why you will (or won't) buy a ticket. They know exactly what type of movie they’re making, and in that context, they do it reasonably well. As far as being a heavy hitting, box office smashing comedy? It's not at that level. The Hangover it is not. American Pie 1999 it is not. It's nothing ground-breaking but it gives the fans what they want and expect. It’s a decent, fitting, if unspectacular ending to the series. I really hope they don’t spoil it.