After a 9 year hiatus and a string of terrible straight to DVD spin offs, the American Pie franchise returns with all of the original cast in American Pie: Reunion which, as the title suggests, revolves around the Class of ’99 East Falls High School reunion. Opting to arrive a couple of days early, the main characters of Jim, Kevin, Oz and Finch reunite in their home town to catch up ahead of the event. As ever, despite not being invited Stifler manages to find his way into the mix and hi-jinks ensue.
The story is once again predominantly focused on Jim (Jason Biggs) who’s marriage to Michelle is going through a rough patch following the birth of their son. Kevin is a happily married architect who heads to town solo, Oz is a TV sports pundit who brings along his crazy model girlfriend. Finch is a well travelled free spirit who has never settled down and has no baggage in tow.
During the days leading up to the reunion, organised by MILF Guy #2 (John Cho) in an expanded role, old characters such as Vicky and Heather arrive on the scene rekindling old feelings and driving some of the side plots with mostly good results. As ever Kevin is a dead weight and it is impossible to care about anything he or Vicky do but at least Oz is given a predictable but decent enough story which you ultimately do care about because of the first film.
The comedy set pieces are well timed akin to the first two films with the excessiveness of Wedding reigned in. There are plenty of laugh out loud moments and some decent small cameos, the highlight of which is the main MILF guy who appears late on with a few choice moments.
Jim’s dad once again stars as a strong supporting character and shares some familiar father/son advice moments although this time with Jim now a grown man, it is a two way street. It is these moments that give American Pie: Reunion the right vibe and helps to tick all the expected boxes of a franchise nearly 15 years on from the first outing.
The music has always been excellent but it is perhaps at its best in American Pie: Reunion as it revisits old tracks at the right moments linking scenes back to the previous three films. It is touches like this that make Reunion the perfect book end to a series which for those of a certain age feels like one giant nostalgia trip of school / university days that we all love to take from time to time.
As expected there are plenty of sentimental moments in this one but there is enough to root for that in between the comedy the down time is never boring despite a perhaps slightly slow build in the first act. Stifler (Seann William Scott) is back to his best after misfiring terribly in film number three and after driving much of the hilarity throughout as ever, his final scenes are a thing of beauty.
Overall American Pie: Reunion does exactly what it should do and blends the funny and the sentimental very well. It won’t work as a standalone film particularly well but for the 99% who are familiar with the films, it is a nice send off for one of the modern era’s best loved franchises.