More proof you can never go to home room again, American Reunion finds the gang from East Great Falls High, Class of ’99 awkwardly joining together 13 years later.
Jim and Michelle are married with a hyperactive toddler who prevents them from enjoying a satisfying sex life. Oz is a glum NFL cable analyst, forced to celebrate younger men. Stifler – The Stifmeister! – works in an investment office with beautiful women and (presumably) punitive fraternization rules.
American Reunion’s big joke is that the guys who once pledged to lose their virginity by prom night are, after college, mortgage and marriage, hornier than ever.
That’s a good one. But while it was cute watching teenage Jim (Jason Biggs) romance latticed pastry in American Pie; to see him slap a laptop shut on himself during a porn flick when his kid enters the room is just plain creepy.
Besides, you can only tell the same joke so often. Stifler (Seann William Scott) wanders through American Reunion in an “Orgasm Donor” T-shirt. Jim has been caught walking the dog so many times in the American Pie series, his top should read, “Hand Solo.”
American Pie was a cult hit in 1999 because it reduced the pressures of late adolescence – the challenge of looming adulthood, getting into a good college, a good job, marriage and all that stuff – into a single, diverting recreation: getting laid.
Though the series (eight films, including four video spinoffs) has been successful, we never really befriended its cast. Other high-school comedies introduced stars. Sean Penn ( Fast Times at Ridgemont High), Keanu Reeves ( Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure), and Jason Segel, Seth Rogen and James Franco (TV’s Freaks and Geeks) are but a few actors who started out as class clowns.
Of the American Pie bunch, only Scott, who has seemingly cornered the market on wide-grinning idiots, has made a lasting dent on the public imagination. And so a get-together of the not-so-famous Class of 99 confirms the perception that only losers attend high-school reunions.
Sure enough, the first half of American Reunion is a stumbling parade of misfired jokes and gross-out skits: Jim and his dad (Eugene Levy) discover a stash of stuck-together men’s magazines in Jim’s old room; Stifler gets back at high-school tormentors by fouling their beer cooler.
And talk about sloppy storytelling. Once writer-directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg ( Harold & Kumar) have wrung the last joke out of Jim and Michelle’s intrusive two-year-old, the kid disappears from the picture. Poof!
But wait. Just when you’re ready to drop out of American Reunion, the high-school remedial comedy comes alive. Halfway through, everyone starts drinking heavily and the film turns into agreeably sloppy fun. (Isn’t that always the way – class reunions often perk up when someone spikes the punch.)
Another plus: In a couple of memorably funny scenes, the filmmakers clear the deck and allow an inebriated Levy loose to romance the stoned Jennifer Coolidge, who returns as Stifler’s underdressed, oversexed mom.
It would be too much to suggest that American Pie: Reunion is good to the last slice, as the promo poster claims. What we can say is that the final, post-credit scene, a bawdy sequence that has Levy and Coolidge in a movie theatre, with the actress’s head dipping from sight, is a fitting climax to what has been a memorably profane comedy franchise.
- Written and directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg
- Starring Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Seann William Scott, Eugene Levy and Jennifer Coolidge
- Classification: 14A
Special to The Globe and Mail