After years of unwanted sequels, the popular 90s comedy franchise American Pie has returned to the big screen with all of its original cast, plus two comedy directors by the names of Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (Harold & Kumar) to help bring the characters home. Unfortunately for Hurwitz and Schlossberg American Reunion is the worst piece of pie yet, not counting the unwatchable straight-to-DVD sequels. Reunion isn’t funny, contains way too much overly dramatic dialogue and feels incredibly long and out of touch with what made the original series kind of work.
The gang is back! Jim (Jason Biggs), Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), Oz (Chris Klein), Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Vicky (Tara Reid) and Stifler (Seann William Scott) have all went and lived their separate lives, but are now coming back for their belated high school reunion. Not much has changed since Jim first had sexual relations with a pie, aside from Jim and Michelle actually having a child, plus Stifler holding a real job that doesn’t serve french fries.
American Reunion is the return of the 90′s teenage comedy, except it forgot to bring the comedy. There’s something tremendously stupid about Reunion that doesn’t fit in next to the mediocre American Pie and its two sequels. I’m no Pie-lover by any means, but I appreciated the trilogy for what it is, especially for the period in which it takes place in. American Reunion doesn’t refresh the laughter or introduce new gags; it instead takes the cheap way out and tries to ride off of the humor that wasn’t even funny in the first three films.
The characters haven’t progressed at all, which suddenly makes the group of aging adults come off as pathetic, instead of cute and entertaining. There’s nothing funny about a bunch of 30-something adults complaining about working day jobs and paying bills. It was entertaining when they were young adults throwing parties and doing ridiculous things, but it begins to feel kind of creepy when you’re forced to watch one of these adults return a drunken naked girl (who he used to babysit) to her home before her parents find her.
It’s this kind of immature humor that makes the film feel a decade too late. Stuff that was sort of funny in the first three films feels tired and repetitive in Reunion.
I’m not sure how Hurwitz and Schlossberg managed to mess up this badly, especially knowing their previous directorial work, which includes Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, which is hilarious. Reunion is just a flat sequel that moves at a sluggish pace and hits rock bottom once the characters start infusing their current life drama with the film’s story. No one ever watched the original Pie films for dramatic life problems or constant bitching and complaining about getting old. No; we watched the original Pie films for teenage humor, tons of parting and the occasional bare female breast.
American Pie isn’t a cult-classic, but it is a comedy that works on some levels and fails on a few others. American Pie 2 works much better as a straight-forward film, only because it attempts to become a coming-of-age tale, mixed with that raunchy sex humor. American Wedding is the sign of a bad joke gone too far and American Reunion is what happens when you hit rock bottom.
If you absolutely have to watch Reunion because you’re a completest or something, then you’ll be pleased to know that Seann William Scott‘s Stifler has managed to become the high-point of the series, which sort of makes for an all-time low-point for the quality of the series. Scott keeps the laughs coming strong, even when the rest of the entire cast manages to fumble every single line. I credit Scott for trying to keep a straight face while collecting one of the easiest paychecks of his life, but I sure hope he doesn’t come back for the sequel, because we do not need one!
The 1080p video transfer never comes out of its shell. Most of the transfer can be described as soft, but that doesn’t completely cripple detail and color. The balance of the transfer is even, especially for a comedy, but I couldn’t help but to find myself getting bored looking at the flatness of the presentation.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is mostly a front-heavy track, but it does branch out and mingle with the rear channels. The soundtrack, dialogue and environmental noise all comes in with proportioned detail, which makes for a more than acceptable mix.
Here’s a detailed list of the special features included in the combo pack:
- Unrated & Theatrical Version: This combo pack offers up both an unrated version as well as the original theatrical version. The differences are minor, with the unrated cut clocking in a full minute longer than the original cut.
- Audio Commentary: A basic track featuring the two directors of the film. They both offer up the usual balance of impromptu humor and informative filmmaking comments.
- The “Out of Control” Track: A video commentary with random members of the cast popping up to add their own comments about the film.
- Deleted, Extended, Alternate Scenes and Gag Reel (HD): The basic compilation of extra material. Most of the stuff here isn’t all that funny, but the gag reel does stick out as memorable.
- The “Reunion” Reunion: Re-Launching the Series (HD): The behind-the-scenes look that gives you cast and crew comments about the forming of the fourth theatrical Pie film.
- The Best of Biggs: Hangin’ with Jason B (HD): 4 minutes dedicated to Jason Biggs, which is far too much time if you ask me.
- Lake Bake (HD): A lakeside look at the cast and crew.
- Dancing with the Oz (HD): A look at Chris Klein‘s character.
- American Gonad-iators: The Fight Scene (HD): A look at how they filmed the epic battle between the adults and the teens.
- Jim’s Dad (HD): The under-appreciated savior of the series only gets 3 minutes.
- Ouch! My Balls! (HD): The title speaks for itself.
- American Reunion Yearbook (HD): An interactive yearbook with video clips.
- DVD Copy
- Digital Copy
- UltraViolet Digital Copy
One doesn’t expect much from a sequel like American Reunion, which is over a decade too late and unnecessary to boot, but for some reason I was hoping it would at least be an entertaining way to kill an hour and a half. At no point was I expecting something too memorable or classic, but I didn’t expect to flat out hate the film as much as I did. As it stands American Reunion is one of the worst comedies of the year and the worst Pie film yet, because it tries too hard to inject the film with a cold dose of reality, which is never funny and mostly boring. It doesn’t help when the main characters still act as if their 15 yet try and complain about grown up matters. It’s counterproductive and makes you want to pluck out your eyes.
American Reunion is something you’ll want to skip. The Blu-Ray’s video transfer is muddy and sunbaked, while the audio track is a front-loaded and energetic in bursts. The special features don’t help the film become a purchase, but they do provide a couple of harmless features that are mostly surrounded by filler.
This review is based on a copy of the Blu-Ray that we received for reviewing purposes.