By Ryan Hiller
The gang is all here as the cast from the original American Pie film returns for the fourth theatrical installment, American Reunion. After a string of straight-to-video releases, this new entry into the franchise is the first film to feature the original cast since 2003’s American Wedding.
The film opens 13 years after the original film and finds married couple Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) struggling to find time to connect as a couple since the addition of their son Evan. They decide to return to their hometown to attend their 13 year class reunion (the film does acknowledge that 13 years is not the traditional time to hold a reunion, but the film spent a lot of time in pre-production). Jim sees the opportunity as a time to reconnect with his old buddies Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Oz (Chris Klein, who has not appeared in the franchise since 2001’s American Pie 2), and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas).
Once back in Great Falls, the gang is reunited with their old “friend” Stifler (Seann William Scott) and try to relieve their past glory days. Tara Reid, Mena Suvari and Shannon Elizabeth reprise their roles from the first two films as the boys’ ex- girlfriends. The film follows a mostly formulaic plot to show that wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age. Stifler’s antics seem tired, but they are intentional. He represents the person from high school that has never been able to let go of the past and move forward.
The film is best when it shows the struggles with age. Marriage, children, parental death, infidelity and divorce are all represented in the film. Audiences who graduated when the cast did and have gone through similar changes will easily relate to the complex emotions some characters have while getting older.