Film Review: American Pie: Reunion

American Pie: Reunion is a film made for fans of the previous American Pie instalments. As such it should not disappoint; American Pie: Reunion is a lot of fun.

Thirteen years after they graduated high school, Jim, Michelle, Oz, Stifler and co are back in town for their reunion. Jim and Michelle are now married, whilst Oz has a successful career. As the gang reminisce about their youth, they realise how much their lives have changed. Stifler and co are keen to relive their old hijinks…

American Pie: Reunion is made precisely for the audience who watched and enjoyed the first film. Much of the humour is based around events that occurred in the first instalment. That is not to say that viewers would not be able to enjoy the film as a stand alone product, but just that the first film in particular is heavily referenced.

The narrative of American Pie: Reunion is predictable. There are no real surprises in terms of events that take place. Reunion follows the same pattern as the previous films, with the outlandish/cringeworthy incidents and the obsession with sex. The reason the film works so well is because of the amusing characters that populate the series; at this point audiences will have become fond of them. Moreover, the humour is crass and often immature, but it does generate the laughs.

The aspect of nostalgia is very much played upon by writer-directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg. This is natural, given that the action revolves around a school reunion. As the characters look back and contemplate how far they have come since high school, many viewers of a similar age will be able to identify with this reflection. The sense of nostalgia is heightened by the use of a late 1990s/early 2000s soundtrack.

Seann William Scott is a scene stealer as Stifler, the role the actor is most associated with. As Jim, Jason Biggs is as clumsy and affable as ever. Tara Reid is a little reluctant reprising her role as Vicky, while Chris Klein brings some laughs as Oz.

American Pie: Reunion should be enjoyed for the fun that it is. Needless to say, those who did not like the first film are unlikely to be impressed by this offering.

What the American Pie: Reunion Trailer Tells Us About the Film, and Life

A new trailer has been released for American Pie: Reunion, which is out in cinemas on 6th April 2012. Several things can be ascertained from viewing the trailer.

1. The debauchery will arise from limited sources

Most of the original crew from the American Pie film have settled down, according to this trailer. That means any lewd behaviour is likely to come from Stifler and some of the secondary characters. This suggests that the film may take a similar format to 2003’s American Pie: The Wedding.

2. Stifler’s Mom and Paul Finch may not get together

The end of the trailer points to a new liaison between Stifler’s Mom and Jim’s Dad. This would indicate that Stifler’s Mom and Paul Finch have finally moved away from one another. A key dynamic throughout the series, it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the film.

3. The soundtrack should be fun

Just like previous instalments, the soundtrack sounds like it will be populated by fun, pop-punk music. Blink-182 and other similar bands featured on the soundtrack for the first film, and the trailer suggests we can expect more of the same from American Pie: Reunion. It seems like the film will take 1990s and early 2000s teens make to their youth.

4. Most of the cast have aged well

Given the thirteen years that have passed since American Pie‘s release, most of the cast look similar to how they did in the first film. While Mena Suvari, Alyson Hannigan and Jason Biggs still appear youthful, the beard and hair combo is doing nothing for Kevin, played by Thomas Ian Nicholas. Tara Reid also looks good, despite her well-documented troubles in the intervening years.

5. Anyone the same age as the characters is now official old

Anyone who was in their late teens when American Pie came out is now as old as Father Time. According to the trailers, they should have settled down, have had a child and be working in a middle-management office job. American Pie: Reunion is sure to be a nostalgia trip, but may remind viewers just how much time has passed since the first film.

American Pie: Reunion Trailer

Now it’s time for a bit of light relief. Almost a decade since the last American Pie film, Jim, Stifler and co are back for American Pie: Reunion. The film series is a bit of a guilty pleasure; the trilogy did not descend too much in quality unlike many other film franchises. American Pie: Reunion sees return of all the original cast. The trailer features a fantastic use of an old R Kelly track. The film looks promising, hopefully it will offer plenty of laughs. We will see when American Pie: Reunion is released on 6th April 2012.

Film Review: Hot Tub Time Machine

Perhaps the biggest achievement of Hot Tub Time Machine is that it cements Back to the Future as the quintessential time-travel movie. That’s not to say it is a bad film, merely that the influence of Robert Zemeckis’ 1985 classic is abundantly clear.

Oh, the 1980s. Such a wonderful decade. Adam (played by John Cusack) and friends inadvertently time-travel back to 1986, seemingly a year that fundamentally altered the course of their lives. The film follows the gang as they attempt to return to the present day without causing too much upset in as they run into old flames, friends, and enemies…

Hot Tub Time Machine is a very enjoyable film; the trailer does not illustrate some of the funnier moments in the film. The humour is a mix of parody, knowing references, and the gross-out comedy of films such as Animal House or American Pie.

Director Steve Pink does a good job of balancing this humour with more poignant moments that progress the film’s narrative. The allusions to other films are unmistakable, and Hot Tub Time Machine does the right thing in overtly mentioning some of them. The references stretch as far as casting, with Chevy Chase making an appearance, as well Crispin Glover, who appears in both the present and the past, in another nod to Back to the Future.

With an intertextual film that pays homage to the 80s such as this, it is surprising there is no covert reference to the fact that its leading man became a star in this very decade. Nonetheless, Hot Tub Time Machine works well to produce a feeling of nostalgia for those who remember the decade, and to offer a kitsch depiction to younger audience members well versed in 80s-retro  culture. Special kudos for the soundtrack too, which features an array of both well-known and cult 1980s tunes.

Sure, Hot Tub Time Machine is a corny film. The plot is predictable and the dialogue sometimes crass. But it is also extremely entertaining; surely the sole aim for a flick such as this.