It’s 13 years since Jim (Biggs), Michelle (Hannigan), Kevin (Nicholas), Oz (Klein), Finch (Thomas), Stifler (Scott) and the rest graduated from East Great Falls High. Now they return for a delayed class reunion, to discover that no matter how things change (marriage, kids, life), some things stay the same...
The N word — nostalgia — can be a tricky, offensive term. It’s not necessarily the first phrase you might associate with something that also wants to position itself as a gross-out comedy full of boners, booze and boobs. But with Harold & Kumar creators Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg at the helm, and the whole original cast back for more, American Pie: Reunion looks to rekindle the relationship. The result is a bit like looking at an ex on Facebook — a mixture of happy memories and the crushing reality that, as with so many former flames, age is rarely kind.
Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) are now parents to a two-year-old, and are trying to put the spark back in their marriage. Oz has become a semi-famous sports caster with a hot blonde girlfriend (30 Rock’s Katrina Bowden). Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) has settled into the life of a househusband and works as an architect. Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) is a well-travelled renaissance man who brings tales of tribes and tattoos. Mena Suvari’s Heather is a doctor, dating a colleague, but seemingly still carrying a torch for Oz. Stifler’s (Seann William Scott) still Stifler, though he’s stuck wondering why the world isn’t a constant party, and trying to make the most of life as a temp. Oh, and Tara Reid’s Vicky is... living in New York, which is about all we learn of her in the small screen time she’s allotted.
The majority of the film is split between ruminating about the passing of time and how life works out (with the lads in particular pondering how The Kids Today are so much wilder/hotter than they were) and trying to recapture some element of youth. Unfortunately for us, this equals Hurwitz and Schlossberg watching the first movie and figuring out as many callbacks as it’s possible to squeeze into one sequel. In fact, aside from the odd wife/job/baby here and there, everything is much the same, and that’s part of the problem. It all becomes very predictable very fast. Jim is caught masturbating, Finch has a bathroom issue (albeit a pleasant one this time), Oz is crushing on Heather etc. If there’s any real development, it’s for Eugene Levy as Jim’s dad. With his wife dead, he’s encouraged to start dating again, leading to plenty of Levy being awkward or awesome and finally meeting up with Stifler’s mom (Jennifer Coolidge). They riff off each other well, but even that comes across less like a fully thought-out development in the story and more like American Pie fan fiction writ large on screen.
The actors do their best, though, and the performances are good-natured enough that there’s some fun to be had simply hanging out with them again. Old friends, then: it’s nice to see them, it’s fun to catch up, but there comes a point when you realise there might just be a reason you didn’t stay in touch as much as you might have. After all, nostalgia can only get you so far.
The first couple of servings back in the day were fresh and fruity, but the franchise has been left on the shelf a little too long. It’s occasionally entertaining to have these characters back in our lives, but for the most part this fails to party like it’s 1999.