‘Pie’ reunites to revitalize franchise

Justin Marietti

“American Pie” was undoubtedly one of the defining and well-known comedies of the late ‘90s.

The film was subsequently followed by two sequels, and then dribbled into relative obscurity by three B-movies that simply used the “American Pie” name and rode on the success of the original films.

It’s been nine years since the third and final (actually legitimate) film of the franchise, “American Wedding.”

However, the boys are back in town for “American Reunion,” quite possibly the funniest installment yet.

I was a little surprised to see that the entire cast of the original films would be appearing in this new project.

Although I was only a moderate fan of the original films, I admit that I was a little eager to see this fourth installment simply based on the fact that everyone signed on for it.

A lot has changed for the gang. Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) have a little boy now, but their once very-active sex life has dwindled to near extinction.

Oz (Chris Klein) is a sportscaster and former contestant on a show much like “Dancing with the Stars.”

He appears to live the good life, but he isn’t nearly as happy as he wants everyone to think he is.

Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) has become a highly domesticated stay-at-home husband who is silently very ready to get a break from his routine that has become set in stone.

And then, there’s Steve Stifler (Seann William Scott). Some things just never seem to change. In this case, I’m glad they didn’t.

In my opinion, Stifler is the character that helped solidify this franchise in comedy lore.

As the guys return to East Great Falls, Mich. for their high school reunion, they discover a great deal about the directions their lives have taken and consume a great deal of alcohol in the process.

“Reunion” follows relatively the same formula as the other films, with this mismatched group of guys finding themselves in some sticky situations.

However, 10 years have come and gone, and the crew is supposed to have matured over that time.

Indeed, some of them have. But when they are all reunited, it seems to unleash the child in all of them, especially Stifler.

Although this film flows similarly to its predecessors in terms of comedic style and the little mishaps the characters find themselves in, I think the direction of “Reunion” was handled much better than any of its elders.

This is a franchise that has made a name for itself by going above and beyond the call of comedic duty, so much so that it leaves the audience shocked, unable to uncover their mouths or hold back their laughter.

“Reunion” is no exception.

I think this movie has completely brought back relevance to a 13-year-old franchise.

I enjoyed the first three, but after seeing this film, I wouldn’t mind at all if they continued to make more of them.

Just as long as they are able to return the original cast members, that is.

Overall, I was definitely impressed by this effort.

Although I am certain there are critics who won’t agree with me, I think this is the most entertaining comedy since “The Hangover 2,” and it was good enough to revitalize a franchise that was gathering dust, which is good enough for me.

As per the usual with “American Pie” films, I would strongly advise that parents leave their children at home for this one.

But for anyone who has seen any of these movies, I think that goes without saying.