American Pie: Reunion is the fourth big screen instalment of the American Pie series. Unfortunately though, this latest venture lacks the imagination of the original.

American Pie’s main characters are now struggling with adult life and are brought together for a high school reunion. Much of the plot revolves around Jim and Michelle who feel disconnected after the birth of their child. This leads to some amusing exchanges between Jim (Jason Biggs) and his dad (Eugene Levy) who are both on top form in classic American Pie style. There’s also a nice subplot for Jim’s dad, as he moves into the dating game himself.

Unfortunately, Oz, Kevin and Finch’s stories lack the laugh out loud gags of the original. These three characters continue to have their insecurities – traits that make them more sympathetic than many others in this genre – but they don’t seem to be given quite enough to get their teeth into.

Luckily Stifler’s (Seann William Scott) unwillingness to grow up provides enough riotous laughter to carry the movie off. The rest of the gang cringe as Stifler throws parties and pulls pranks as if he were still a high schooler. Even so, Scott plays Stifler with such warmth that it’s difficult not to empathise with him as he compares himself to the next generation of teens and laments the loss of his youth. Stifler is the shining light of the movie and pretty much single handedly holds it all together.

There’s a great deal of nostalgia in American Pie Reunion. Cameos from the original cast are plentiful. Disappointingly, few are given more than a handful of lines. Old jokes are revisited in abundance too – Jim’s sock, MILF, band camp. So many old gags are revisited that it’s easy to accuse American Pie Reunion of lacking an original position within the franchise. This instalment cries out for a different, imaginative spin with new gags of its own. American Reunion’s action seems to skip from one party to another and, at times, it doesn’t really feel like the plot is going anywhere.

American Pie Reunion does capture the essence of the original – it’s vulgar at times, genuinely sweet at others. But it’s also overly nostalgic, failing to deliver on original laughs. Stifler, Jim and his dad are on form and there’s a pay off that’s worth waiting for, but American Pie Reunion feels more like a rehash of the original than a film in it’s own right.

 VERDICT: ✪ ✪

For more information, see the official American Reunion website

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