Blu-Ray Review: American Reunion

'Thoroughly steeped in sexual conservatism, taking place in a universe where any form of sexuality at all is inherently shameful and therefore automatically hilarious.'

Devon Ashbyby Devon Ashby


Currently available in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack from Universal, American Reunion – the much-anticipated follow up to iconic ensemble teen sex romp American Pie – nostalgically revisits the glorious and sordid flowering of the early 2000s. Reuniting virtually the entire cast of the original franchise, American Reunion indulges in the same schizophrenic blend of subcutaneous kneejerk conservatism and preadolescent body horror that defined American Pie and its overrated follow-ups, but with the added frisson of creeping, middle-aged unfulfillment, stark terror of conjugal emasculation, and relentlessly encroaching sexual obsolescence replacing the blithe and physiologically normal desires of younger, high-school-aged gentlemen to go out into the world and stick their penises into things.

Thirteen years after high school graduation, Jim (Jason Biggs), Oz (Chris Klein), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and of course Stifler (Seannnnn William Scott) are all generally bored and unsatisfied with their lives and relationships, despite varying degrees of personal and professional success. Jim is married to Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) and has a three-year-old son, Oz has become a well known and highly paid sports commentator with a high-maintenance Hollywood girlfriend named Mia (Katrina Bowden), Kevin is humiliatingly being supported financially by his successful wife, and Stifler is deservingly trapped in a boring, underpaid temp job with an obnoxious and effeminate boss. Traveling back to their hometown for their thirteenth high school reunion, the group reunites – along with their current and previous wives and girlfriends – for a weekend of low-key, nostalgic debauchery, which naturally soon spirals wildly out of control.

The problems with American Reunion are basically the same problems with the entire franchise, so if you’re a fan of the original, you’ll probably like this one too. Pretty much every single character from the first film reappears in some capacity and gets jokes made about them, and the central characters and style of humor are essentially identical. Like American Pie, American Reunion is thoroughly steeped in sexual conservatism, taking place in a universe where any form of sexuality at all, no matter how mundane, is inherently shameful and therefore automatically hilarious. Though often legitimately offensive (mainly thanks to its ubiquitous, repulsively casual sexism, though the movie does also indulge in covert racism, homophobia, and fat shaming), the humor is, more importantly, lazy and one-dimensional, based on compulsively regurgitating the same narrow, biased observations over and over again without any real point, plan, or trajectory other than Pavlovian reinforcement of its own perspective.

The Blu-ray is a veritable cornucopia of deleted, extended, and alternate takes of scenes, plus a gag reel, a behind-the-scenes featurette about the making of the film, and an endless parade of other, similar random video features with names like American Gonad-iators and Ouch! My Balls. There is also a normal director’s commentary track, and a separate “OUT OF CONTROL” commentary track, where little weird video avatars of the actors pop up at the bottom of the screen and make terrible improvised jokes, if that’s something you’re into. Plus there’s an unrated version with a shot of Jason Biggs’ erect penis in it. Enjoy.