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American Pie: Reunion Review

Directors: Hayden Schlossberg, Jon Hurwitz

Cast: Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Eugene Levy, Jason Biggs, Jennifer Coolidge, Mena Suvari, Seann William Scott, Tara Reid, Thomas Ian Nicholas

Running Time: 113 mins

Certificate: 15

Synopsis: 13 years after Jim (Biggs) fornicated with baked goods, he and his old buddies return to East Great Falls for a school reunion, discovering what has changed and what hasn’t…

I’ve held back on my review for AMERICAN PIE: REUNION for two reasons. One. Work load. Two. It’s very hard to review. You see, as a film critic, its very difficult not to get caught up in the hoopla of a big release; not get excited by the prospect of a new ‘Pie’ movie and the nostalgia factor of seeing one hit cinemas after so long.

Yes, it has been nine years since the last official ‘slice of pie’, bar a few straight to DVD efforts, which while entertaining, didn’t quite set the world alight. Literally everyone is back for the new movie, from Jim, Michelle, Stifler, Oz, Heather, Vicky and Finch, to Jim’s Dad, Stifler’s Mom and even the MILF guy. Universal have really gone to town with the movie, investing cash into its cast, and new directors in the form of HAROLD AND KUMAR alumni Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg.

The film starts off with ‘more of the same,’ and immediately we find Jim in an uncomfortable situation with a ‘cock in a sock,’ which gets raises a little smirk, but you can’t help by feeling that a) you’ve seen this before, and b) it all just feels a little too dated. Luckily, as we’re over the reintroducing of the gang in their new lives, the action gets a little more interesting as we follow the boys up to no good in East Great Falls as the supposedly more mature adults, but its not too long before they’re up to their old tricks with hilarity trying its best to ensue.

Here’s my problem. In retrospect, and I saw the film quite a few weeks ago, I know that the gags, the humour in general and the set pieces seemed very dated, and were instantly forgettable. Indeed, how many times can we laugh at Jim in a compromising situation; do we really find Stifler defecating into a cool box funny? Is finding your son’s wank mags still as embarrassing as it was all those years ago? Well, maybe. I can pick holes in the plot and some aspects of the experience, like the fact that the girls hardly interact with one another. At all. All of the action is focused on the boys, and the boys alone, with Tara Reid, Mena Suvari and co seemingly sprinkled in for decoration and that all important nostalgia factor. There are forced situations inserted into the story like the ‘let me know’ blow job scene from the original and way too many cameos from some of the original cast in one-off scenes which I could have done without. Saying all of this however, I look back at watching this movie in a packed London cinema in Leicester Square, very much like my experience of the first film the first time, with great affection. I had a blast with it. It is funny, and gets funnier as the story progresses, and there’s enough there to warrant its existence. The moments with Jim’s Dad, out of his depth as a single man for the first time in thirty plus years, worked well, and the ‘oh they’re not going to do that are they’, aspect of some of the set pieces also hit the right spots most of the time.

For AMERICAN PIE: REUNION, I will go as far to say is the possibly the best of the series since the first. It seems like he filmmakers almost tried too hard to pack as much in for nostalgia’s sake as they could. Its a valiant effort from Hurwitz and Schlossberg, and when you think about really how much more they could have done with it, you really have to admit; not much more than hey did really.

I can criticise it until the cows come home, but I can’t get away from the fact that I was loving it a lot at the time, and I’m sure audiences will all feel the same.

   AMERICAN PIE: REUNION hits UK cinemas on Wednesday 2nd May, 2012.

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