The Wednesday Review – American Reunion (2012)

  • Director – John Hurtz and Hayden Schlossberg
  • Starring – Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klien, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Sean William Scott, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Eugene Levy and Jennifer Coolidge
  • Writer – Adam Herz, John Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg
  • Year – 2012
  • Length – 113 mins

Once a franchise is onto its 4th film we are normally in trouble.  We are either doomed to watch the final death throws of a once great film (both Jaws 4 and Superman IV spring horrifically to mind) or we are into reboot terrority, which lets face it never normally ends well (Phantom Menace anyone….).  Therefore I wasn’t sure what to expect walking into American Reunion.  My first slice of Pie was a good experience, however subsequent courses went considerably down hill. A fourth order seemed a little unwise. I needn’t have worried though as right from the opening scene it is clear that the original Pie Maker is back. They may be a little older, a little wiser, but they’re still just as tasty.

The story picks up 13 years since the gang were all at High School, with Jim, Michelle, Oz, Kevin, Finch and Stifler all  heading back to East Coast Falls, for their 13th year High School Reunion. Jim and Michelle are now well passed the honeymoon period with a two year old son, Oz is a big time sports presenter with an empty LA lifestyle, Kevin is a struggling architect and house husband, Finch aimlessly travels the world, whilst Stifler is still Stifler but now slightly stifled by working as a temp in the city.   Once the boys are back in town the reminiscing begins leading to one last weekend of East Coast Falls escapism and nostalgia.

And nostalgia is what we get and we get it in spades.  The script feels warm and familiar with some typically amusing and cringe worthy Pie moments, which still feel mange to feel just the right side of fresh (the writers of The Hangover II please take note).  The cast are are all on good form and uniformaly reprise their roles well.  Outside of the main five, all (and I mean all) previous case members are back for one more shot.  Some have simply walk on roles, others more substantial, whilst the odd one feels slightly shoe-horned in.  At one point there were so many of them showing up that I thought there is probably a good drinking game in the making here.  Special mention needs to be made though of Eugene Levy  (Jim’s Dad) and Jennifer Coolidge (Stifler’s Mum) who were both stand out excellent.  In fact Levy has never been better, especially in the last act.

The majority of the audience in the screening I attended were in their mid thirties, so would have been late teenagers when the first slice of Pie was served up.   There is a lot here that the audience could relate to.  We have all attended (or avoided) high school reunions, we have all stalked ex-partners on Facebook (admit it of course you have) and all ultimately been forced to face up to the reality and responsibilities of adult life.  There was a strong sense of empathy in the air during certain scenes.

I had fun with American Reunion, and if I am to be honest, more than I was expecting.  It was by no means perfect and occasionally the script felt slightly forced and lacking in focus, but these were brief moments and forgivable considering the company we are in. Whilst it was nice to spend a couple of hours with these characters again, I did come away with a slight nagging concern. This franchise will be the high water mark for 90% of this cast and whilst Jason Biggs, Alison Hannigan and Sean William Scott are doing ok,  you must wonder about the others.  If no more Pie is to be served, then what will be their next course?


Review by Will Malone
If you liked American Reunion, then try 50/50

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