In the latest installment of the “American Pie” franchise it’s the thirteenth high school reunion for some very recognizable characters—Jim, Oz, Kevin, Stifler, Finch, Vicky (Tara Reid) and Michelle. The question is, Will their 13th anniversary be bad luck for them, the movie’s viewers, or both?
Since graduation in 1999 the old gang has gone their separate ways. Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) are married with a son. Oz (Chris Klein) is an LA based sportscaster who once appeared on a a reality dance show, Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is a stay-at-home dad, Stifler (Seann William Scott) is an office temp and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) is a man of mystery.
Their weekend back in East Great Falls, Michigan brings back old memories, creates some new ones and uncovers some long held secrets.
As you may have guessed from my synopsis, plot is not one of “’s” strong points. I expected something more from “Harold and Kumar” helmers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, who also wrote and directed “Reunion.” None of the surreal feel of their best-known comedy seeped into this movie.
Instead we get a by-the-numbers high school reunion flick with enough “we’re not as young as we used to be” shtick to fill a textbook on how not to write a high school reunion comedy.
Luckily Eugene Levy is along for the ride. He rescues every scene he’s in, adding in some touches of real humor. Ditto Seann William Scott as Stifler. He’s a classic moron character, but there is something about the commitment Scott shows to Stifler’s idiocy that makes the shameless mugging and language one of the movie’s pleasures.
Aside from that only one set piece really works—an extended sequence with a drunken girl young enough to call the Spice Girls “classic rock.”
As for the cast, everyone is in full-blown “American Pie” mode, à la 1999. No surprises there, although the movie could easily have been subtitled, “What Ever Happened to Tara Reid?” She has a small supporting role that plays more like a cautionary tale of faded success than a comeback role in a Hollywood movie.
At almost two hours it feels longer than my old history teacher Mr. Parker’s lectures, but may appeal to fans of the series who have a built in connection with the characters and Eugene Levy aficionados. Otherwise, this is a direct to DVD level movie with not enough laughs to qualify for theatrical release.
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