t's safe to say that when American Pie debuted in 1999, no one imagined that the raunchy teen sex comedy would spawn two theatrically released sequels and four straight-to-video spinoffs. Yet 13 years later, the eighth film in the franchise, American Reunion, is hitting theaters this weekend. The movie reunites nearly the entire original cast — mostly absent from the direct-to-video spinoffs — including Jason Biggs as Jim and Seann William Scott as the hedonistic rogue Stifler. (Watch a trailer below.) The now-adult characters all return to their hometown for their 13-year high school reunion. Reunion revisits the risque humor and gross-out gags that turned the original Pie film into a $100 million hit — including an homage to Biggs' iconic pie scene. Is any detectible magic still there?
It's "the best of the lot thus far": Nostalgia plays a big part in American Reunion's appeal, says Marc Savlov at The Austin Chronicle. Having the entire original cast back is "akin to curling up under your favorite quilt and revisiting some old friends you haven't seen in a good long while." But the able execution of its bawdy humor is what makes this go-round with Stifler, Jim, and the gang click. In a beefed-up role, Eugene Levy slays as Jim's reliably cringe-inducing dad. All told, American Reunion is a hilarious, well-acted, well-written, "genuine ace."
It's not perfect, but nostalgia saves it: The film plays like the "teen-sex-comedy equivalent of a deathless band playing the hits you remember, just like you remember them," says Keith Phipps at The A.V. Club. It's what fans expect, nothing more — though sometimes less. As becomes clear, these characters never really had anywhere to go once they lost their virginities in that first film, and an overly busy script has "more... subplots than Middlemarch." Still, the power of nostalgia goes a long way, making American Reunion a pleasant trip down memory lane. Next up: "American Retirement."
It's actually pretty bad: A "stench of desperation" permeates American Reunion, says Marshall Fine at The Huffington Post. It's populated by a cast of actors whose careers, mostly, never took off. The incompetent script panders, with the two biggest gags involving Jason Biggs' penis and Seann William Scott pooping in a cooler. American Reunion not only fails to recapture any of the original's magic, it falls short of the new standard in gross-out films. Since American Pie first premiered, "the bar has been significantly raised" by the Harold & Kumar films, in particular.
"Movie Review: American Reunion — No joke"
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