American Reunion Blu-ray Review
The AMERICAN PIE films are an odd series. When the first film hit theaters in 1999, I felt it was severely overrated, even though I was technically the perfect age for their targeted audience. Two years later, the first sequel came out and I thought it was hilarious. AMERICAN WEDDING and several atrocious straight to Blu-ray sequels later and I had written off the AMERICAN PIE series, never to return again. But Universal didn’t agree and they managed to get the entire cast back together for AMERICAN REUNION, which does a fine job of paying homage to the original films but taking our characters in new directions…kind of.
The plot of the film is found in its title; AMERICAN REUNION. The gang reunites for the 13 year reunion of their high school graduating class and as they start to meet up, they discover that although they’ve changed, they all have a tendency to fall back into the same traps that plagued them in high school. And yes, they half-heartedly explained why it’s a “13 year” reunion as opposed to the normal “10 year”. Some stories work better than others, but it’s impossible to avoid the sense of nostalgia as we catch up on the lives of the original Pie gang. The film relies heavily on that nostalgia and without it, the plotlines around Oz (Chris Klein) and Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) wouldn’t have been interesting at all. With it, however, we take an interest in their situations, if only to reconnect with characters we first saw 13 years ago.
As with all of the Pie films, the highlight in terms of laughs is on the capable shoulders of Stiffler (Seann William Scott). The movie excels when he’s on screen and I found myself waiting to get back to him whenever they started focusing on other characters. Stiffler was the character that related this film to the others in the sense that he was the one trying not to grow up. Believe it or not, that worked well and gave the film a little bit of heart. And as is also the case with the other Pie films, there’s an excessive over-focus on Jim (Jason Biggs), Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) and Jim’s dad (Eugene Levy). I don’t mind Jim off on his own adventures as I enjoyed watching him fumble with the advances of his next door neighbor. But I didn’t enjoy any scene with him and his dad, which feels just as awkward now as it did in the first film.
After the first film, the series started to focus on the four guys in the series and the women in the series seemed to be an afterthought. I assume this was because Universal wanted to appeal to the teenage boys in the series, but as the characters have gotten older, I find the women in the series just as interesting. I would have liked more attention on the women of the series to even out the testosterone running rampant throughout the Pie films. If Universal hopes to continue the franchise (and I believe they will), then they would do well by giving the women of the film some plotlines of their own.
It may be a bit of a cop-out to say this, but it’s truer with this film than any sequel I’ve seen; if you liked any of the first few films, you’re going to like AMERICAN REUNION. It moves along with a nice pace to hold your attention and has several funny moments to make it worthwhile.
Video: AMERICAN REUNION looks beautiful with all colors popping out onscreen.
Audio: The audio was also very efficient, with the dialogue coming through nicely.
Commentary with Co-writer/co-director Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg: This was mildly entertaining to listen to since there was some interesting information, but only if you are a die-hard fan.
The “Out of Control” Track: This is a video commentary-esque feature which has Jason Biggs and other members of the cast who pop up on screen during the film and give us a bit of commentary.
Deleted, Extended, Alternate Scenes and Gag Reel (40:58): I loved how they lumped all of this together and although it was almost 41 minutes long it’s definitely worth checking out if you can’t get enough American Pie.
The “Reunion” Reunion: Re-Launching the Series (11:03): This was basically the cast and crew getting together to discuss why they returned for this fourth film.
The Best of Biggs: Hangin’ with Jason B (3:59): A bit of an ego boost for Mr. Biggs as his cast members and crewmates (he was an Executive Producer) talk about how great he is.
Lake Bake (4:57): Another chit chat with the cast and crew, but this time we’re at a lakeside setting.
Dancing with Oz (3:01): This is a bit about Chris Klein’s dance moves in the film.
American Gonad-iators: The Fight Scene (4:02): This was about filming the fight between the adults and teens in the film.
Jim’s Dad (2:57): Euguene Levy is apparently so special he gets his own three minute featurette.
Ouch! My Balls (1:59): This is where some of the cast members go around hitting each other in their special places while on set.
American Reunion Yearbook: Interactive yearbook which features clips from all four films.