This was the second of the three Tab reviews I did back in the day, the first of course being Michael. This was moving into exam term, and I desperately wanted to knock out some reviews before shutting myself in my room for weeks on end worrying about what might have been the most important exams of my life. I drew from what I had watched over the holidays at the cinema, and only American Reunion got past the editor – whose name now escapes me sadly – as it had been released earlier in Holland than it had in the UK.
Unlike a certain other Tab editor, who we may as well call Jim Eason, I felt like my new film review editor did a tactful job in editing. Hilariously enough, I only went with one friend, who I have sadly not seen since, but my editor decided to make me look more popular by saying that I went with several. No problem with that. With this version, I’ve taken on board some of his editing, and recalled my original scribblings to make my own ‘writer’s cut’ of this highly insignificant review.
Please don’t judge me. I didn’t set out to see this movie, but by the time I got to the cinema, it was the only film my friend and I were prepared to watch. With this being the eighth film (if we include several terrible straight-to-DVD affairs) in a series that has been milked to death over the years, I wasn’t expecting brilliance.
My previous American Pie experience amounts to the first two films, which I thought were a barrel of laughs, and one of the aforementioned DVD oddities called The Naked Mile, which really wasn’t. I’ve never felt a strong connection to the series but when the film started, I realised that, within the American Pie universe, this was something special.
The film returns to the original American Pie characters in Jim (Jason Biggs), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Oz (Chris Klein), Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) and, of course, Seann William Scott’s Stifler in addition to a plethora of other secondary characters. Each of our protagonists, 13 years after leaving high school, are struggling with the first-world problems of adult life and are brought together with the convenient plot device of the high school reunion. The reintroduction to our favourite teen comedy characters is well executed and ensures that even those only vaguely familiar with the series will be engaged with the film, and those who are familiar are actually grateful to see them again.
As they return to Whateversville in Alwayssunnystate, the main characters predictably proceed to entangle themselves in a series of sticky situations, some of which involve graphic onscreen nudity, including a brief but excruciating penis flash to balance the relatively copious scenes with breasts. No sexism there then!
The series of subplots running through the film are actually quite hilarious, if a little immature, but what really had me laughing out loud was the dialogue. I’d forgotten just how entertaining watching Stifler could be. I particularly enjoyed how he described a former classmate as ‘the lips that got away’.
I was worried that this film would draw from the previous seven films, but fortunately the only references made here are to the original film. I was glad for this, as I was able to understand most of the in-jokes that were made during the film, even though it has been several years since I watched it.
In the end, the determinant of whether you will enjoy this film is your reaction to the first one. Those who don’t find the crass humour of the series appealing have no reason to see this film. On the other hand, people who enjoyed the first film and can tune their sense of humour to that of a 15-year-old will find this addition a treat. Without making the series drag even further, Hurwitz and Schlossberg have created a nostalgic piece for long-time fans to relish. It may not be art, but it’s classic American Pie.