For a singular American movie that defined a generation’s youth, anyone checking the 24-35 box on census forms will have to be slightly peeved with what we were lumbered with. While our parents had The Graduate, we got American Pie. To paraphrase Ferris Bueller, Prince of the teen movie, “How’s that for being born under a bad sign?” It’s not like the first American Pie was necessarily a bad film – it was funny, warm-hearted – but it had nothing to say other than “Teenagers? They get pretty horny don’t they?”
13 years on from their prom night celebrations, the gang of Jim, Finch, Oz and Kevin are back, still friends, still obsessed with sex and still avoiding Stifler. Last seen getting hitched, Jim and Michelle are new parents, finding that the pressures of family life weigh heavy on a libido and Jim’s dad is coping with the loss of his wife. Every other character you fondly remember is shoe-horned in as the reunion gathers pace.
The stars of American Pie have not aged well and so a large part of American Pie 57 (that’s an estimate after the IMdb entry for the series brought on a massive aneurysm listing American Pie 2, American Pie: The Wedding, American Pie Presents The Naked Mile, American Pie Presents Band Camp, American Pie Presents The Book Of Love…) is spent semi-pitying the once youthful cast. Sure, they’re all still millionaires but their eyes are coated with a sadness that can only come from realising things haven’t panned out quite the way you’d hoped when you were in your early 20’s and you were hailed as the ‘next big things’.
This melancholic sadness for rich, good looking people eventually dissipates and is replaced with a hefty dollop of bodily fluid gags, naked teenage flesh and Stifler shitting in a beer cooler. Which is kind of the problem and kind of the reason the series shouldn’t have lasted beyond Pie 1. As a ‘sex’ comedy, all the American Pie series has is ‘sex’. It can’t make clever, clever jokes and serve up spectacular wordplay, it can’t even do screwball unless there’s a hint of screwing and balls. The only arsenal Jim and friends have is cock loaded. Films of Pie‘s ilk will run until the human race stops hopping on the good foot, but that doesn’t mean the films have to have the same characters in the same situations.
That you will still get a giggle out of the film is a minor miracle and only two people are to thank for that. Not directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg – although they do keep the pace and tone at a level expected – but rather the MVP’s of the series Stifler and Jim’s Dad. Not laboured by the need to further the plot or provide too much of the heart (another becoming trait of the series) Stifler and Jim’s Dad steal every scene they’re in. When they eventually hook up a small part of you might start thinking ‘spin-off’. Our recommendation would be to think very long and hard about that idea before you arrive at the conclusion that that would be bad. Dogs and cats living together bad.
And once more for the record: our parents had Dustin Hoffman. We got Jason Biggs.
Insert your own ‘stale pie’ metaphor here, but we’ll opt for “It’s not inedible”. That it can be swallowed at all is mainly thanks to Sean William Scott and Eugene Levy, knowing that playing the same character ten years on isn’t the same thing as playing the same character. It’s telling that the only moment that will really set your teeth on edge is when the principal characters talk of another instalment.