Whilst I told myself it was some sort of social experiment that motivated my viewing of ”ËAmerican Pie: Reunion’,it was easily more nostalgia and a hope that something guiltily amusing may come from this venture that led to such actions. ”ËAmerican Pie: Reunion’ sees the ‘old gang’ back together for the first time in nearly a decade, since the bashful Jim Levenstein married the at-least-slightly-interesting Michelle Flaherty. In the ensuing time, all manner of DVD-only expansions on the”ËAmerican Pie’ franchise have been crafted, with only the eternally endearing Eugene Levy as Jim’s dad staying as a permanent fixture.
As expected, the familiar heroes Jim, Stifler, Oz, Finch et al are all peddled out, and also as expected – the character progression has been intense. Stifler is more outrageous and bawdy than ever, and Oz has managed to become more vacuous and stultifyingly dull than could ever be perceived imaginable. Unlike most of the cast, Stifler as a concept has at least moved with the times into a hyper-irritating, Jaegerbomb downing, Facebook pest. The dialogue, often failing to replicate the conversation of mammals, goes from the dubious (“Doesn’t it seem like girls have gotten sluttier these days”Â) to the just plain poor (“I know this place like the back of my cock”Â). Plot is notably absent at many points, and ”Ëthe gang’ find themselves having to awkwardly deal with all manner of embarrassing incidents without the writers fully putting the time into getting them there. Whilst nudity, toilet humour and bawdiness goes with the territory, the way they’re just assorted and inserted into the film like quotas to be met stinks of the straight to DVD releases that the American Pie franchise is now synonymous with. Things go from the sublime to the ridiculous when you find yourself bemusedly watching Jim desperate to avoid some sort of teen-movie Chappaquiddickwith an inexplicably nude girl.
Allison McCarthy in the Guardian () was right to swiftly raise concern over the film’s descent into casual sexism and misogyny. Stifler’s request to “see the goodies”Â of an unconscious, topless eighteen year old girl may be innocently chuckled off as harmless, but the testosterone-heavy belly laughs reverberating around the cinema confirmed my doubts. Whilst without any serious malintent, American Pie Reunion’s main crime is failing to provide a voice of conscience or questioning to the sexism and ”Ëbanter’ present. Indeed, the laddish interpretation of ”Ëbanter’ that has crept all too malevolently into masculine discourse in recent years really is fully endorsed by this film. And this isn’t a general comment on the franchise neither ”â the first American Pie film saw the males as hormone-driven, hapless and held hostage by an array of strong, domineering women. Thirteen years later, the same women bitch about sexual conquests and fight on all fours over TV sports presenters. Any saving grace of liberal mindedness ”â in which two lacrosse players make Stifler question his prejudices through their open homosexuality ”â is sharply made redundant by making the only female from the original film to not engage in sexual activity a lesbian, complete with the peddled out stereotype of the caricatured-butsch girlfriend.
Admittedly, you do get everything you expect from ”ËAmerican Pie: Reunion’, all parties with red plastic cups, heavy product placement and an endless supply of beautiful women – and everyone’s inexplicably very wealthy. And yes, the film does have the token attempts at warmth and the need to create an illusion of moral to the madness, but these gestures are perpetually little more than token. Where the original American Pie had charm (honest!), this one is left with a filling that is definitely a little hard to digest.