Synopsis: Jim, Michelle, Stifler, and their friends reunite in East Great Falls, Michigan for their high school reunion.
Stars: Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Seann William Scott, Eugene Levy, Tara Reid, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Eddie Kay Thomas
Director: Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg
Running Length: 113 minutes
Random Crew Highlight: Music Preparation ~ Victor Pesavento
TMMM Score: (2/10)
Review: The pie has officially gone bad.
In this fourth big screen entry (and EIGHTH overall if you count direct to video sequels) of the American Pie franchise, we are treated to more eye-rolling antics from Jim and his clown-car classmates. To say everyone was on auto-pilot to their destination would be suggesting there was a direction planned in the first place. What we end up with is a tired and embarrassing “final” entry in a series that started out with a naïve charm that made it so popular.
After the disastrous American Wedding I would have thought that Universal gave the Pie-makers their walking papers. Never underestimate the power of a franchise extender, though and in these tough movie-going times the execs must have thought the public was clamoring for another outing. Even if they were, this movie serves us leftovers of a pie with a lot of crust and no filling. Usually with sequels that stretch out over a decade our characters grow and learn…but not these guys. Everyone in the movie basically plays the exact same stunted characters they’ve played since the 1999 original. Efforts to give them depth or challenge them are laughable at best, painful at worst.
Our graduates of East Great Falls high are now a little rounder and more Botox-ed as they return to their 13 Year Class reunion (first joke fail of the evening my friends). Jim (Biggs) and band camp flute lover Michelle (moon faced and moony voiced Hannigan) are the parents of a toddler and what do you know it…they find that having a kid has changed their marriage! For some crazy reason (ie because it says so in the script) they want to try to work things out over the weekend they are going to be spending with their friends…and then they get mad at each other when they never have time alone. Hmmm…I don’t see a pivotal plot point the entire movie hinges on coming my way…do you?
They are joined by…well…just Jim’s friends since obviously Michelle’s band friends were played by extras long since committed to their shifts at Culver’s. Nicholas has spent the years between films growing a really interesting beard and Klein wisely sat the last film out so he’s back making up for his absence. Klein by now should be a better actor than he is. Out of the limelight with substance abuse problems he’s back with a vengeance…in the interviews I’ve seen him in he’s sincere to the point of a psychotic break and that carries over into the film. Everything he says, does, feels is acted out by his eyebrows and forehead. As Finch, Thomas is so bloated you want to give him a water pill. I almost hate to mention Scott’s Stifler because the character is so unlikable it’s hard to imagine why anyone would remain friends with him. We all had friends in high school that we stuck with knowing we’d leave them in the dust once we threw our caps in the air. Stiffler’s man-child antics would surely please less discerning viewers but for this reviewer it’s a big miss.
Wait a second…the poster indicates that Reid and Natasha Lyonne are part of this mix as well. Fooled ya! Reid has next to nothing to do and is not even given the decency of closure to her character. Lyonne is dealt a worse blow by showing up in the last 15 minutes and given three lines that any other actor onscreen could have done. I’m not kidding…one of the lines is something like “Kevin, Vicky is looking for you and she’s really upset”.
So what’s good about this? Not a lot really but if I had to pick something I’d focus on Mena Suvari and the adults. Suvari will never add an Oscar to her mantle but here she’s the one actor that seems ready to admit she’s doing it for the money. She knows it’s a dog of a film and grits her teeth through several awful dialogue exchanges with Klein and a rough haircut.
The best part of all of these films (including the few direct to video ones I’ve also suffered through) is Levy as, simply, Jim’s Dad. While the character has gotten a bit broader the movie takes shape when he’s on screen. His scenes in Reunion are all too brief but pay attention while he’s there…he makes the experience more bearable than it probably should be. Jennifer Coolidge’s role is expanded here and she and Levy get the best laugh of the whole movie…during the credits. Let’s just say I finally released a laugh at a joke involving a popcorn tub.
Special mention goes out to a cameo near the end…I don’t want to give it away. Oh forget it…I’m gonna do it. It’s Rebecca De Mornay as Finch’s mom and she looks absolutely amazing. I wish she’d had more to do…and a better movie to do it in.
As this is supposedly the final piece of the Pie there’s a go-for-broke attitude about the film. The gags are grosser but poorly staged, the nudity is maxed out for all its worth. One girl goes topless for an extended period of time that actually had me wondering what her mother will think when she sees it. Oh..and Biggs decides now is the time to do full frontal nudity. Ready to plunk your money down yet?
The humor here isn’t even sophomoric…it’s grade school and it’s a laughless affair handled by kids that have been out in the sun at recess too long.
In a review full of pie puns I’ll leave you with one last one: Pass on this under baked slice of Reunion pie.