I was in my late 20s when "American Pie" came out, probably past the age of the intended audience but I was a fan, in fact even when the original series ended and we had the spin-off "American Pie Presents" I liked them more than most did. So when it was announced that the original cast had agreed to make a fourth "American Pie" movie I was all for it, although also a bit sceptical because how could they capture the magic of the original with the guys being grown up. The good news is that "American Reunion" captures everything which worked so well about the original movie, paying homage to the gags which made us cringe and laugh. But unfortunately at the same time it struggles when it comes to the storyline, throwing ideas around but never really getting them together into a coherent story.
It's been 13 years since Jim, Kevin, Oz, Finch and Stifler left high school but with the East Great Falls reunion going on they all head home for the weekend. But things have changed in those 13 as Jim and Kevin are having marriage difficulties and the other guys all have their own problems well. And the one with the biggest problems is Stifler as he is still living in the past, acting the jerk and living with his mother.
"American Reunion" to put it simply is a movie for fans of the series or at least the original trilogy because what we get is those iconic moments recreated but with the guys grown up. So we have plenty of gags surrounding the humiliation of Jim, from an opening scene involving a tube sock to Jim being chased around in a bondage outfit. It is not just the Jim gags because we also have other gags from those body fluid gags as well as an update on the Stifler's mum gag and all of this works brilliantly. The writing and directing team of Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg have done a brilliant job of taking all those iconic "American Pie" scenes and updating them.
But unfortunately once you get beyond all the fun "American Reunion" starts to crumble like a pie molested by Jim, it struggles to give each of the characters a story and combine them into a coherent narrative. Yes we have Jim and Michelle's marriage troubles, Oz's feelings for Heather whilst Kev also has to face his feelings for Vicky amongst other things but it is all very episodic. It lacks a focus like in the first and second movie it was all about getting laid and third was the wedding this one doesn't have that strong central idea and ends up relying on some cliche reunion elements which you can find in countless other movies.
Now the thing is that yes I am disappointed by the weakness of the storyline but as a fan of the movies this is like being wrapped up in a warm, all but perverse blanket. Just seeing how the likes of Kev and Oz have changed whilst also getting those updates is a lot of fun which makes up for the lack of narrative. And what is also especially good is having the old guys back together, if any one of them hadn't agreed to reunite it just wouldn't have been right and even those minor characters such as John Cho as MILF Guy #2 and Natasha Lyonne as Jessica return.
What this all boils down to is that "American Reunion" is a lot of fun but is really a movie for those who fell in love with the original and the gags which made those original movies memorable. It isn't great, it does lack a coherent storyline but hey when it's Stifmeister time that doesn't matter a great deal.