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Movies Review

'American Pie: Reunion' review: The Stifmeister steals the show

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American Reunion is the cinematic equivalent of premature ejaculation. You want it to come, but not just yet.

With less than nine years since American Wedding, not enough time has passed to generate a significant nostalgic hunger for another bawdy, genitalia-garroting jaunt featuring the original Pie members.

Fortunately, the movie contains one 'Stiffie' you never want to die down. A bravura performance by Seann William Scott ensures that the laughter is heightened (and tone conversely lowered) in every scene in which the mischievous miscreant Steve Stifler appears. Obnoxious, misogynistic and with glazed-over eyes that channel Dougal from Father Ted, the character is at his raucous, social-awkwardness inducing best.

A high school reunion provides the excuse for the old gang to get together, with the likes of Jim (Jason Biggs) suffering from marital blues, Oz (Chris Klein) still yearning for his ex Heather (Mena Suvari), and Stifler trapped in temp job hell. The opportunity to reunite allows the males to let their figurative hair down... or their literal penis in the case of Senor Biggs.

Jim and his dad (Eugene Levy) share another embarrassing conversation.
Assorted japes ensue, with highlights including Eugene Levy's turn as a weed-influenced Jim's dad, Stifler's frequent efforts to be the dominant alpha male at all costs, and hapless Jim's close encounter with a girl he used to babysit. Fusing sight gags with crude one-liners, the results are distinctly hit and miss with too many tired and overfamiliar moments. Hasn't the 'pages of porno mags stuck together' gag been milked dry?

The chemistry and relationships between the primary cast members are as enduring as ever, with many looking like they have barely aged. Wisely, several secondary character cameos are kept under wraps until the latter half of the movie, rather than, erm, simply blowing the whole load straight away. This structural strategy gives a crowdpleasing boost to alleviate pacing issues that cause the narrative to sag more than Stifler's mum's cleavage.

American Reunion also contains an amusing reminder of how right cricketer Shane Warne was - The Sherminator is indeed a dead ringer for England batsman Ian Bell!

Frequent sexual objectification of women under the male gaze - and the filmmakers appear far worse than Stifler on that front - does grate. Scenarios appear engineered for the 'eye candy' members of the female cast to flash the flesh, while those that don't are still defined by their status as a possible provider of the old 'in-out'.

While feminists may (rightly) seethe, a broad audience in pursuit of trashy, escapist fun will mostly lap up the sporadic bursts of inspired hilarity. At 113 minutes, American Reunion is far too long but there are enough laughs and winning performances to justify biting into another chunk of the Pie. One is just left with the feeling that the movie would have worked far better when the cast and target audience are firmly entrenched in middle age.

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