American Reunion is the latest installment in the American Pie franchise. Its three prequels, American Pie, American Pie 2 and American Wedding, have given audiences a familiarity with characters that can only be developed over the course of several films. Thirteen years since their graduation, the gang receives notice of a high school reunion and they each decide to attend. It would seem that everyone has gone their separate ways, with Jim and Michelle (Jason Biggs and Alyson Hannigan) still married but now with a son, Oz (Chris Klein) a sportscaster working out of LA, Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) an architect and married, Stifler (Seann William Scott) a temp at an investment firm, and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) an apparent adventurer. When the boys decide to meet up a few days early, they find themselves and their relationships tested by new and old love interests alike.
This is a movie for the fans, as the last of the franchise’s comedic formula is used to the fullest. Viewers who have not seen the prequels will be completely lost, as most of the enjoyment comes out of having seen these characters grow older—not to be mistaken with maturing as, let’s face it, they are all pretty much the same.
Trademark appearances are made by Jim’s dad (Eugene Levy), the father who is too understanding for comfort, and by Stifler’s mom (Jennifer Coolidge), the iconic cougar of Finch’s earlier years. While the two bring plenty of laughs to the table, there is a sense of tragedy in their roles, the former mourning the death of his wife and the latter still seducing young men who wander into the wrong room.
Supporting roles aside, most of the cast has yet to make a name for themselves outside of the franchise itself — and it shows. While they work well together as an ensemble, Sean William Scott is the true center of attention, having made Stifler’s antics into a brand of humor that cannot be found elsewhere. Sure, it may have been the masturbation scenes that grabbed our attention in the first film, but it was Stifler who kept it for the second and third. He’s annoying and selfish and unbelievably horny, but he still manages to deliver a Hail Mary during the clutch moments in which its needed, and we love him for it.
For all its shortcomings and crude humor, this is still a fun movie that manages to be more than most other films in its genre. Since the beginning of the franchise the jokes were raunchy and, at times, even vulgar, but these were lovable characters, whose futures were worthy of emotional investment. They were obsessed with sex, but it was an obsession driven by the curiosity and naïveté that can only be associated with youth. Audiences found themselves wanting more, asking “but what happens next?” and filmmakers answered the only way they know how: with sequels. All good things must come to an end, but if it is any consolation, this most recent addition to the franchise is as fitting an end as any.