★★★★ "American Reunion" (15)
Posted on May 3rd, 2012 by David Keeble
- "Seeing these great characters back on the big screen makes the last piece nostalgically sweet. It only seems fitting that these guys end it because they, undoubtedly, were the ones who started it all."
Directed by Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg.
Starring Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Sean William Scott.
The original American Pie (1999) and American Pie 2 (2001) cast are all back in what is presumably the last installment in the franchise and I for one, if that is actually true, am so glad it ends with all these characters. American Pie (1999) was groundbreaking in its approach to exploring sexuality amongst 90s American teenagers and was very funny. It was a game changer and will always be regarded as the comedy that started it all. Each character and their life scenarios were explored which gave the audience the chance to engage and connect. Adam Herz's writing also promoted what can only be considered to be some of the most cringe worthy moments to be explored up until that point in the decade. The infamous pie scene is just one and Herz's humorous writing was groundbreaking in itself. To my delight, and eventhough the humor might seem out of place at times with the characters pushing thirty-five, it still makes for a very funny viewing with bittersweet nostalgia thrown into the mix. If you put the films in spiritual order you have a charming teen comedy anthology.
Our characters have all gone their separate ways since Jim's wedding (some even before that). Thirteen years after graduating high school, Jim Levenstein, Chris "Oz" Ostreicher, Kevin Myers, Paul Finch, and Steve Stifler have moved on with adult life and responsibilities. Jim is married to Michelle and they have a two-year-old son. Oz is an NFL sportscaster living in Los Angeles with his supermodel girlfriend Mia. Kevin is married to Ellie and works from home as an architect. Finch has supposedly gone missing, and Stifler works as a temp at an investment firm. However the Reunion Ball is fast approaching East Falls after one of the class mates from '99 organises it. What will our loveable characters get up to over the weekend and will there be any life surprises along the journey back at home?
It goes without saying that the first film was harmless in its own way. The second was a bit darker and the same tone concurred with the third. But Adam Hurz's writing still created funny moments. The lesbian scene in American Pie 2 in its own right, has also become memorable just as much as the apple pie scene in American Pie. The humor was more valid back then because these guys were still old enough to know better but young enough not to care. Now they're all pushing thirty five, a cynic will watch the same types of humor play out in this installment and scuff in disgust as these blokes fail to accept that life changes. I didn't care one bit. Hurz's comedy might stick to the same vulgarity as before but it manages to come from new tangents all the time. The screening was in hysterics on more than one occasion and rightly so. There's no joy in getting older and it's tough to face the realities but luckily Hurz reminds us we're all still young at heart, regardless of our age.
The real harsh realities of life are seen through Jim's insanely loveable and funny dad, Noah whom is now a widower. As we get older things get taken from us. We all know that. I lost my grandparents when I was only eleven and it affected me in more ways than one. It's quite touching to see Jim return back to his old room and sit down with his dad whilst they discuss his porn magazines. To many it sounds creepy and I sympathise but sometimes normality is just not necessary in times of pain. The pain is not just seen in the concrete life moments but the abstract as time itself starts to take affect on our characters. They all look so much older and it's hard to look at them and not think back to how old we were when we watched American Pie.
It would be wrong to not mention Steve Stiffler played as ever wonderfully by Sean William Scott. Scott crafted this character on his own. He's obnoxious, sexist, ignorant, vulgar - the synonyms could go on. But Scott manages to always make us like him regardless of his actions. I don't think Sean William Scott will ever shake off this character. He shouldn't even try. He just is Stiffler. He always has a memorable moment(s) in the films. Underneath it all Stiffler is just like the rest of us... shit scared of getting old and that is why we love him because he does have humanity in him.
American Reunion will not be to everyone's tastes but then again American Pie was never that either. For me, the last piece is so nostalgically sweet, I really couldn't care less. Anyone fancy going to 'Dog Years'?
© 2012 David Keeble