Back in 1999 there was a Porkies for the new millennium that went by the name of American Pie. The very modestly budgeted, $11 million film went on the take nearly $240 million worldwide as audiences gobbled up food masturbation gags and teenage bad behaviour. With numbers like that it was no surprise that the film spawned sequels and a mini genre of its own.
After American Pie 2 we were shown American Wedding, then American Pie Bandcamp, American Pie Naked Mile, American Pie Bettahouse, American Pie the Book of Love and now finally, in what we hope is the last nail in the American Pie coffin we get American (Pie) Reunion where all the ingredients look to be well past their best before date.
To give you a some idea of how much time has passed and how much the world has moved on since the original film; in American Pie 1 MILF had to be explained, “whatever” just meant “whatever” (as opposed to “whatEVER!”), Manchester City were in the second division and home-made sex tapes ending up on the Internet were shocking rather than commonplace (1 Night in Paris was still two years away from being shot in 1999).
While there is something warm and welcoming about the American Pie films, where you know for certain you’re not going to be challenged or surprised by the level of humour, there is sneaking suspicion that there is more to life (and comedy) than jokes revolving around bodily functions, the fact that women have breasts and isn’t it awkward when your parents talk about sex.
The gang is all back in town Jim Levenstein (Jason Biggs), Chris “Oz” Ostreicher (Chris Klein), Heather (Mena Suvari), Kevin Myers (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Vicky (Tara Reid), Paul Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), Steve Stifler (Seann William Scott) and Mrs Jim; Michelle (Alyson (a career beyond these films) Hannigan) and I willing admits there was a certain amount of schadenfreude in seeing how they cast have aged and their celebrity has waned, but I need more from a film.
American Reunion has the potential to be more than just another sequel, as the leads have gone from high school to adulthood, but anyone expecting a Big Chill with masturbation jokes will be (half) disappointed.
While in the original film, seeing a bunch of twenty something actors behaving like teenagers and trying to get laid was inoffensive and ridiculous, seeing a bunch of (mid to late) thirty something actors trying to have sex with high school girls, played by teenage models is slightly distasteful. The film is at its best when the original cast members bounce off one another (as old friends do) and there are a couple of decent laughs to be had but nothing quite hits the bull’s-eye like the laughs in the original, or maybe I’ve just outgrown the humour in the past 13 years.
It will be no surprise to anyone that American Reunion has a happy ending with everyone agreeing to continue meeting up, but I do hope that we won’t be seeing American Mid-Life Crisis, American Viagra, American Retirement Village and American Pie, the Funerals.