Soundtracked by pop punk and littered with puerile joke after joke, geeky Jim (Jason Biggs) and the gang return this week in long-delayed sequel (and perhaps last hurrah) American Pie: Reunion (2012). Our post-pubescent protagonist and band-camp wife Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) are a few years into marriage when the boys arrange a reunion back in their hometown. From the minute Jim steps foot in his parents’ house – where he became intimately acquainted with that apple pie – you know exactly what you’ve let yourself in for.
It’s surprising to witness just how adept the full cast (including excellently smooth ‘milf’ Jennifer Coolidge) are at slipping back into their old characters. Chris Klein’s Oz is as simpering and pathetic as ever, whilst the enigmatic Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) regales epic tales of his solitary travelling and coolly drops the ‘mom’ comments to the others to jovial and unrelentingly immature response.
It seems that the American Pie franchise has made something of a ‘legend’ of Jim’s dad, played by the monobrowed Eugene Levy. His pedestal is something for him to live up to after his very own spin off in the series, yet the attention paid to him this time round seems more than a bit excessive.
Where Levy’s jokes fall sadly a little flat, an old safe favourite saves the day. Alive with as much charm and wit as ever is Stifler, played by the now forever-typecast Seann William Scott. He lurches himself headiest into the role of our favourite chauvinist prankster and by far raised the most laughs from a now generation-older audience. Despite this ageing, the appeal of American Pie’s utter outrageousness has seemingly not burnt out, and thanks to the collection of the full cast (including tabloid favourite and reportedly lowest paid Tara Reid) is sure to draw in the box office figures.
As a standalone feature, American Pie: Reunion certainly wouldn’t draw a wide audience; there’s little doubt that it’s success lies in old fans laughing at old jokes and the fond familiarity of such a bunch of fun-loving kids. Moreover, this humour ran its course and with the arrival of Judd Apatow, Kristen Wiig et al, there is now little room for such schoolboy humour. The film readily admits this, but also looks briefly at the older discoveries of life – career, true love, and loss. It has some sweet moments and of course, some very awkward but hysterical ones, and remains one of those films you’d still hate to watch with your parents.