I was 14, when I walked into WHSmith with my dad and brothers, a crisp £20 in hand, I felt like Charlie with the golden ticket. I didn’t blink or break stride, I knew where I was going, past the magazines, round the stationary, past the board games to the far wall where I was met by a sea of VHS’s (and some weird products that claimed to be a VHS on a disc, and went by the name of ‘DVD’…….ha, they would never catch on!).
Anyway I knew what I was buying, I’d known for weeks. I looked around to check the coast was clear, like a nervous teenager trying to take a glimpse of the dirty top self magazines for the first time, I reached up and grabbed it……
Now being 14, my life pretty much revolved around, football, school, trying to get past second or even the ‘Promised Land’ of third base, experimenting with alcohol and working out my right arm nightly. So when I first watched American Pie on a recorded VHS, I was blown away. It was like my life, or more accurately, what I wanted and what all of the boys my age wanted our lives to be like at the time; house parties, girls and alcohol. I needed another American Pie hit, like a herion addict yearning for his next hit, I knew what I had to do.
…..American Pie 1&2 the box set. The Holy Grail of VHS at the time!
Now I told you that because you need to understand how much these films influenced my teenage years. Like Star Wars did for others, resulting in thousands of adolescent boys locking themselves in their rooms swinging their light-savers around trying to be Luke Skywalker, me and my mates wanted to be like Jim and the gang. We threw house parties, attempted to throw summer blowouts (only for them to be cancelled), put pen to paper in French lessons to write a ‘sex bible’ (with limited knowledge of the subject in question) to educate those who followed us and were worthy of it’s power. All just so we could feel like them, living the ‘american high school dream’.
So 9 years on after their last outing, when I first heard the old gang for getting back together for one more blowout, I couldn’t wait………..I was going to relive my teenage years again!
From the opening credits, with R-Kelly blasting into the cinema, (‘my minds telling me noooo…..’) the return of Jims famous white sports sock, and two wank jokes in the opening minutes, you knew the ‘pie’ was going to be just as sweet as before.
One by one you see how much each of their lives have changed since Jim and Michelle’s wedding. Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) are playing happy families with their son, and although it seemed Jim had survived the sex drought of high school, the bad weather seems to have returned and his sex life seems to be suffering from severe global warming and experiencing a bit of a drought……..again.
Oz (Chris Klein) is living in LA with his wild model girlfriend Mia, working as a sports presenter and Z list celeb, while Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) has grown a seedy beard, got married and is a housewife, spending his days watching Desperate Housewives, and Finch aka ‘shitbreak’ (Eddie Kaye Thomas) has travelled round the world…or so you think.
And then there’s ‘Stifler’ (Seann William Scott, arguably the most successful actor to come out of the group) (Role Models, Old School). Everybody’s friendship group has or had a Stifler, or a ‘dick’ as he’s later described (if you can’t think who it was, it was you). You have to take Stifler with a pinch of salt, he is who he is, and he’s a major reason why the franchise has been so popular amongst teens and men who grew up with it. He says and does, the things no one else would dare do (taking a ‘revenge duke’ in some kids cooler box). And he returns, more grown up, but just as immature with the same swearing and sex crazy behaviour from the previous outings. Encouraging Jim to crack on to the horny and very attractive 18 year old he use to baby sit, and one of the highlights of the film, plastering Jims dad with shots and drink from a brilliant ice sculpture, giving him the confidence to ‘dust off that old dick and get some ass’
With the guys taking centre stage, there isn’t much face time for the other returning characters. Tara Reid (a shadow of the girl guys fell in love with in 1999) and Heather (Mena Suvari) return, with Heather pulling at the heart strings of Oz once again. The ‘MILF guys’ reunite their friendship at the end, and Sherminator, divorced and still the same old geek, makes an appearance at the reunion. But of course no American Pie outing would be complete without a MILF, or in this case MILFs, with Finchs, utterly disgracefully hot mum getting well acquainted to another one of the group.
This is a return to the films I fell in love with, and is a hommage to the original outings that paved the way for cult classics like Old School and Superbad, with humour that shocks but at the same time makes you burst out laughing, and soundtrack to take you back to school summer holidays, it really deals a heavy dose of nostalgia. The mixed reviews are just a case of people not having that connection with the originals, and personally the American Reunion definitely feels ‘like warm apple pie’ once again!
# One piece of advice for any of you would be daters. Stay till the end, Jims dad demonstrates how the yawn-to-arm-round-your-date cinema move can result in so much more than a dead arm and a cuddle!#