out of Five
Running time: 113
Watchable sequel that gets by on strong comic performances and the audience's inbuilt affection for its likeable characters, but is also fairly light on laughs overall and there are several missed opportunities.
What's it all about?
Directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (from the Harold & Kumar movies), American Pie: Reunion reunites the entire cast of the 1999 hit for their, er, high school reunion and finds each of them having their own problems 13 years on: Jim (Jason Biggs) has a two year old toddler with Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), which is taking a toll on their sex life; Oz (Chris Klein) is a minor TV celebrity whose voracious supermodel wife (Katrina Bowden) isn't too pleased when he runs into his old high school girlfriend Heather (Mena Suvari); Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is a happily married man who's concerned about seeing his first love Vicky (Tara Reid) again; Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) regales the gang with tales of travelling the world and falls for Michelle's friend Selena (Dania Ramirez) and Stifler (Seann William Scott) ...hasn't really changed at all. Or has he?
There's a huge amount of inbuilt affection for these characters and the performances are as good as you'd expect (with the exception of Tara Reid, who looks petrified throughout), though the majority of the cast get side-lined in favour of Jim and Stifler. That said, Scott actually manages to invest Stifler with a hint of depth this time round as his character gradually realises that everyone else has moved on. There's also terrific support from Eugene Levy and Jennifer Coolidge as Jim's dad and Stifler's mom, who get their own all-too-brief sub-plot.
Hurwitz and Schlossberg deliver a handful of laugh-out-loud moments (including an inspired cameo it would be churlish to spoil here) and ensure that there's plenty of gross-out gags and nudity (much of it Biggs's), though it's also fair to say that the main comic set-pieces are largely fore-grounded and the film slows to a not very funny crawl in the second half.
The 1999 film distinguished itself by giving, if not equal then at least significant weight to its female characters, whereas here, Reid, Suvari and Hannigan don't even get a scene together, while other returning female characters (Shannon Elizabeth's Nadia, Natasha Lyonne's Jessica) are reduced to walk-on cameos. Similarly, the script wastes several interesting opportunities (particularly with regards to Levy and Coolidge) and never really gets to grips with its own themes, while entire plots (such as the rival gang that come after them) get randomly dropped for no reason.
American Pie: Reunion scrapes a pass thanks to its likeable characters and strong comic performances, but the script is disappointing and it's not quite as funny as it should have been.
American Pie: Reunion (15)