“American Pie” hit theaters in 1999, which in Bieber years is about a century ago. The movie was followed by two decent enough sequels and another four unrelated direct to DVD films. Did we need another installment? Not really. But writer Adam Herz and director John Hurwitz, who’ve been working this gig for a while now, managed to pull it off, with jokes from the perspective of the new world of tweets, facebook, and Twilight. And some of that laughter is damn contagious. But the best thing about this sequel is seeing the old gang back and ready to act immature again. Jim (Jason Bigg), who is married to Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), has a kid now. But this doesn’t stop him from reuniting with Oz (Chris Klein), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and the Stiffmeister (Sean William Scott) in East Great Falls, for a guy’s weekend before their thirteenth high school reunion. Everyone has moved on, one way or the other, except for Stiffler, whose rage to get laid continues (you wouldn’t want it any other way). All the performances are on the money, but the standout remains Biggs, who finds the heart and the hilarity in Jim, as he did in the first pie film back in 99. If nothing else, the nostalgia factor is worth the price of admission alone. Without spoiling too much, the filmmakers have included just about every American Pie character imaginable, and they find great ways to do it. Even with a brief moment of screen time, all of the returning actors get a chance to shine, and hopefully, bring a smile to fans’ faces. If you grew up with those guys, there’s no way on earth this fourth installment could fail to satisfy you.
With comedy movies reaching a formulaic, play-it-safe low point, it’s a kick to see “American Reunion” accomplish what other sequels failed to do: stay true to the original, while at the same time updating the story to offer something fresh.Of course, vulgarity alone is no guarantee of success. It’s having the nerve to dare and the style to land the jokes that counts. And that it does. Count on director John Hurwitz to stir things up in the rebel tradition of the Weitz brothers. On him, gross looks good. Welcome back, Stiffmeister.