Director: Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg
Cast: Jason Biggs, Sean William Scott, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Eugene Levy, Mena Suvari, Shannon Elizabeth, John Cho, Jennifer Coolidge, Natasha Lyonne, Katrina Bowden, Dania Ramirez, Ali Cobrin
Synopsis: Jim is back, as are the rest of the American Pie gang. Pretty much everyone that has had a significant role in the series has come back for this true reunion, which can be considered a true American Pie chapter after two direct-to-DVD mistakes of films. The problems faced by the gang have changed, but in the end it is very clear that as people, they have not changed.
I think the main audience that will be visiting this film will be those that have been long-term fans of the franchise. I was certainly in the target age group of American Pie when it first came out, indeed being a member of the class of ’99 myself. It is best remembered for its obscenity and the extreme situations Jim always managed to get himself into, however it had a subversive backbone of addressing regular teenage problems, and indeed, desires, which made it absolutely relatable.
This remains the case with this fourth instalment, with all the guys older,in more mature positions in society (well, excepting Stifler, not surprisingly), and facing those big life questions, failing miserably along the way. Jim and Michelle are having trouble keeping the spice in the relationship after the birth of their first child. Kevin is now largely a house-husband, with feelings of guilt in his reunion with Vicki. Stifler still lives with his mother while being unsatisfied with his job, Oz has made it big, but perhaps is missing something in his life, made clearer by reuniting with Heather, and Finch has many great stories to tell, but remains unhappy.
This is all so far, so grown up. But in reality, little has changed. Jim is still the unluckiest guy alive, while stupidly getting himself into the most inappropriate scenarios. Finch and Kevin have funny moments, but they are largely side characters. It is good to see Oz return after his absence from Jim’s wedding (which is quickly and smartly dusted off in their first meeting), and of course the Stifmeister is still a huge dick, but a source of great hilarity as a result. The film certainly has not broken formula itself either, with Jim getting the largest individual set piece based around his sexual mishaps, Stifler having an out there moment (though interestingly this time he is the instigator, not a victim of ingesting bodily excrement), and Jim;s Dad doling out advice. That said, there are a few pleasant twists to the regular formula that work really well, and the MILF guys get a slightly larger story, with there being knowledge that these sub-characters now have a fan base of their very own.
In no way is this film comparable to the highs reached by the original, and there are a number of points in which the story lulls. It still has a higher laugh rate though than many so-called comedies that are released these days. It relies heavily on brand recognition factor, but this is not a bad thing. In many respects, the audiences is meeting up with old friends just as much as they are catching up with each other. Any reunion can be considered a success that makes the past seem like it was only yesterday.
4 stars out of 5