American Reunion Review

By: Lawrence Foster
Rating:  8 out of 10

It’s your 10-year high school reunion and you haven’t talked with some of your good friends from your formative years in at least a presidential term.

You’re nervous because you wonder if things will be awkward. Those fears are unfounded, however, as you and your mates (that is such a better term than friend) pick up right where you left off, just as if there was no gap in communication.

That is how it is with American Reunion. As a huge fan of the American Pie franchise (the three main entrants, not the horrid direct-to-DVD releases), I was nervous about the release of a new film. I hadn’t seen some of my favorite movie characters since 2003’s “American Wedding,” and I was afraid that time would have spoiled the pie.

I was wrong.

American Reunion doesn’t change the formula that made the previous three films a success, and it proved that when it comes to sexual jokes and potty humor, nobody does it better.

For anyone looking for a plot synopsis, just read the movie title … welcome back. The old gang gets back together to celebrate a belated 10-year high school anniversary. That’s all you need to really know because the plot doesn’t matter. What does matter is the characters and the laughs that come with them.

The three stars of this show are Jim Levenstein (Jason Biggs), Steve Stifler (Sean William Scott) and Jim’s dad (Eugene Levy). All three of those actors fall comfortably back into their roles in the franchise, and their enthusiasm for the movie is infectious.

If I had to give an MVP award to anyone, it would be Scott’s take of Stifler. For my money, Stifler is one of the best comedic characters of all time and that is a direct result of Scott. Normally when there is talk of a character throwing him or herself into a role, it is in a more serious, Oscar-type manner. While Scott won’t be nominated for any awards, he loses himself in his character and steals every scene he is involved in.

What was most impressive, and frankly shocking, about Stifler in this movie was that he wasn’t a one-trick pony. In the previous three films, Stifler acted like, well, Stifler. In American Reunion he becomes more of a three-dimensional character. Or at least as three-dimensional as a grown man who takes  No. 2 in a cooler can be. Let’s call it two-and-a-half-dimensional. That is more appropriate.

Stifler isn’t the only surprise in store for Pie fans. American Reunion has heart and that is what makes it my favorite slice of Pie yet. There were attempts at icky-gooey feelings in the three previous films, — heck the third movie was called “American Wedding” — but I never bought into them. That wasn’t the case in “Reunion.” Maybe it’s because I am coming up on my 10-year high school reunion, but I was struck by the awkwardness of running into (or sleeping with) an old flame and how old friends can re-ignite a friendship hot-mother style.

American Reunion was everything I expected and more. It delivered on its trademark style of humor and pleasantly surprised with more life-like characters. Essentially if you have loathed all things American Pie since the beginning, this is not the film for you. On the other hand, if you have enjoyed the previous three theatrical releases, go and enjoy another piece of Pie.

Stifler-style.

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