Thirteen years on from American Pie, Jason Biggs’s Jim, Sean William Scott’s Stifler, Chris Klein’s Oz, Eddie Kaye Thomas’ Finch and Thomas Ian Nicholas’ Kevin are much older but absolutely no wiser.
By strange coincidence – how did they come up with this plot? – it’s the Piemen’s 13th high-school reunion, and it looks like their dreams have gone out of the window along with their virginity and their twenties.
Also gone is the sex life of Jim and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) now that they’re married with a kid, so naturally, or unnaturally, both are fully enjoying the virtues of masturbation as the movie begins its epic round of sex jokes in great, confident style.
Then Jim meets up with a girl he used to baby-sit, now bent on making him the first notch on her belt, while the sensitive Oz (who, we’re reminded, missed Jim’s wedding but wouldn’t miss the reunion for the world now that he’s not such a big name) is both upset and excited when he encounters his old high-school sweetheart Heather with her new partner. This prompts a typical Stifler reaction. ‘Who’s this douche? So you two are banging, and you two used to bang.’ It’s not Shakespeare, but Sean William Scott makes it funny. Though Biggs is clearly the star of the movie again, it’s effortlessly stolen from under him by Scott’s appealing and often hilarious turn as his awesomely dim buddy, who the other guys try to dump from the reunion simply by not telling him about it. Luckily Scott has lots to do and it’s a job done brilliantly well.
It’s not that Biggs isn’t good for a laugh – he is – it’s just that his bit of the script, being tempted into unfaithfulness and being bored by a rather boring wife, just doesn’t produce tasty crumbs of vintage Pie. But Eugene Levy, the glory of the series as Jim’s dad, does. It’s nice that he’s always ready to help his son in a crisis: ‘Is it an erectile problem son? Because sometimes you can buy a little time with a well-placed thumb – that’s something to keep in your back pocket.’ Jim’s mom has died and the dad’s feeling a little randy himself. The movie provides a solution to this problem in the unlikeliest character you can think of, at the film’s, er, climax. It’s a shame that it’s an untruthful scene, but it is undeniably hysterical, producing loud guffaws from an audience most of whom were in nappies when the first film came out.
And that’s a slight problem. This movie depends entirely on you being up to speed with the lives and sex lives of the characters. It’s not worthwhile unless you’re a Pie fan. The other trouble is that sex-obsessed teens comedies are automatically less funny when the actors are in the thirties, somehow it tilts over into being more embarrassingly smutty than a laugh riot.
But the guys go at it with a will and a winning way. It’s their charm and comedy skills that keep it afloat, even when the script caves in and goes all gooey. Really Jim and Michelle shouldn’t being coming together again in their school music room and really Stifler should always remain the prize douche. ‘You’re a fun dick and you’re our dick’ is a line so limp that the film goes all flaccid for a moment.
That apart, and for all its cheerily filthy laughs as well as bringing together all the folks we’ve known and loved (including Stifler’s brother and mom Jennifer Coolidge), this has so much going for it that doesn’t actually have to be the last that they say they’ve saved the best for. I feel a fifth movie coming, sweaty and breathing heavily.
Verdict: Warm apple pie, more home made than McDonald’s. 3/5
Derek Winnert © 2012