Everyone’s all grown up now then (or not). Jim is married to Michelle with a young son, Oz is a sports commentator, Finch has been off travelling the world alone, Stifler is still living in his hometown, and Kevin is a househusband. Indeed Kevin was always the most boring character, and all the writers could think for him to have done in the years away is grow a beard. They all decide to attend the high school reunion of the title, agreeing to meet up back home a few days beforehand to hang out.
Even though the everyone looks a lot more mature, and have been given convincing backstories, the film’s sense of humour has not. It uses the opportunity of them all reminiscing about being teenagers to have them all act like a bunch of teens for a considerable amount of the screentime. All while recycling a lot of the jokes and situations from the previous films. Sadly this nostalgia doesn’t really extend to the soundtrack though, which feels like a missed opportunity to use some great mid-late ‘90s tunes.
‘American Pie’ was conceived as being like an ‘80s teen movie for the ‘90s, and arrived at a time when such films were few and far between. Its unexpected success spawned many imitators in the years that followed, nearly all of which were vastly inferior. So while, let’s be honest, ‘American Pie’ was no masterpiece, it did have something that set it apart; its characters. All of them, even an obvious asshole like Stifler, were likeable as characters and felt like real people you might know. Just seeing where they are at nowadays was pull enough for ‘American Reunion’ to be the huge financial success that it is. I’d imagine a good number of people who would otherwise consider themselves past watching teen comedies would find themselves wanting to catch up with the East Great Falls class of ’99.
And this is really what works for ‘American Reunion’ too. Yes it’s juvenile, predictable, uses rom-com clichés and unpleasant ‘gross-out’ humour, but its characters allow it to somehow transcend all this, making the whole more than the sum of its parts.