The last slice of pie: American Reunion, a review

Jim Levenstein hasn’t had the best of luck. In 1999, his father caught him humping a pastry. In 2001, he superglued his left hand to his privates and his right to a pornographic VHS (the Net generation may not recognize this historical artifact). Then in 2003, he ruined his wedding cake when remnants of his “manscaping” blew into the kitchen. (You just need see his father’s eyebrows to imagine the flurry of fur.)

As audiences catch up with Jim in 2012, we wonder what humiliating misadventures might befall our horny hero.

The good and the bad of it is — more of the same.

It’s been 13 years since four best friends in Michigan embarked on a quest to vanquish their virginity. American Pie, American Pie 2 and American Wedding ushered the characters along life’s milestones, if milestones were made up of sexcapades.

American Reunion finds Jim (Jason Biggs) married to band camp nympho Michelle (Alyson Hannigan); but with a two-year-old son, the only fun Jim is having in the sack is with his trusty slouch sock.

Lacrosse jock-turned choir boy Oz (Chris Klein) is now a cheesy television personality with a hot blonde girlfriend (he’s Ryan Seacrest on steroids); yet he still pines for his high school sweetheart Heather (Mena Suvari). Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) has spent a decade growing hair on his face; the hairier and happily married Kevin is feeling tempted by his old flame, Vicky (Tara Reid).

Meanwhile, the ever-pretentious Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) is trying to live up to his self-imposed title of the most interesting man in the world — and trying to find love his own age.

Speaking of love your own age, Jim faces another obstacle to marital bliss. Her name is Kara. She’s 18. And scoring with her would be as easy as pie since she literally falls into Jim’s lap. While there is something disconcerting about grown men cavorting with girls who consider sexting as first base, writers/directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (Harold & Kumar Go To Whitecastle) poke fun at their age. “Do girls these days seem sluttier?” Jim wonders aloud.

They’re probably not — but it might take a little more to shock this generation’s audiences. They’ve seen Jason Segel’s penis in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. They’ve been subjected to every kind of appalling ignominy in Jackass. So unfortunately, in terms of gross-out comedic moments, American Reunion offers little you haven’t seen. For example, in all three previous films, Jim’s dad (Eugene Levy) has caught his son with his pants down (once with a dog). But this time, Jim is the dad. And it’s his toddler who walks in on Jim in a compromising situation with a voice on his laptop yelling, “Who’s your daddy?”

With story lines and gags as tired and used as the pages of Jim’s Hustler magazine, the film falls on the charm of Adam Herz’s familiar characters and the deft delivery of golden lines.

This leads us to Seann William Scott’s most iconic character: Stifler is to this film what fruit filling is to baked goods; when things are getting bland, you get a satisfying bit of the Stifmeister as he shares the gift of dong and dung. Stifler shares the spotlight — and alcoholic shots — with Jim’s dad, who is back on the dating market after the death of his wife. Their discussion about female genitalia is the cherry on the cake.

Stifler just wants everyone to have fun (as do Hurwitz and Schlossberg). But as the cast converge on their high school’s 13-year reunion, everyone is busy obsessing about sex: when to have it, who to have it with, if they should keep having it even after people have walked in on them, etc.

Hurwitz and Schlossberg have kept the American Pie flavour, including its sweetness. The characters get their predictable, er, happy endings and friends and family are often hugging it out to sappy instrumentals.

At one point, Kevin tells the gang: “We should do this every year,” and they toast “until next time.” No doubt producers will consider serving up another — though I shudder at the thought of American Retirement; this pie has a longer shelf-life than anyone expected.

This was originally published in the Post on April 5.


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