I gave up at Band Camp. It was moderately amusing in places, but nowhere near of the calibre of American Pies 1-3. The early films had been wildly successful because they were sweet and endearing, not because they were gross. Just mentioning poop and flashing your boobs is not adding the right ingredients to that particular pie.
American Reunion (AKA American Pie: Reunion) is the eighth installment in the Pie series, and that alone does not bode well. Was Police Academy 8 any good? Did they make an eighth? Again, I gave up at four: I thought it was crap even though I was knee-high to a grasshopper. Hellraiser sucked past the fourth installment (even assuming you got that far), and I can’t think of any other long-running film franchises that have suddenly blossomed into excellence after so many releases. So what makes me think that this one would be any good?
Well, for a start, they have the old cast-members back. Not just Seann William Scott and Eugene Levy, but Chris Klein, Mena Suvari and Tara Reid. They reunited everyone you can remember from the first film, and then added back in exactly the same ingredients in exactly the same doses at exactly the same time to produce exactly the same results. So if you liked the first one, you’ll like this one too.
Set 13 years after the first film, Jim and Michelle’s sex life has waned since the birth of their son. Meanwhile, Oz is a minor celebrity with a model girlfriend and Finchie is travelling the world trying to find his true love. Kevin is married and working as an architect, and Stifler is a temp at a big corporation and bullied by his swaggering boss. The group reconvene in advance of their high school reunion for a weekend of shenanigans including Jim’s temptation by the girl he used to babysit, and Oz’s emotional reunion with Heather. Jim’s dad – now a widower – is now the recipient of fist-chewingly uncomfortable advice as the gang try to coax him into rejoining the dating scene. Stifler’s Mom, of course, makes a reappearance.
It’s always endearing, often funny and occasionally hilarious. The $50 million film grossed $235 million, though reviews were inexplicably negative. I guess just faithfully retreading the earlier films (even down to the soundtrack) wasn’t enough for other people. For me, though, if it’s done well enough, it is.