I’ve been to two of my high school reunions. It’s weird to see your old classmates morphed into unrecognizable old people. But it’s worth it to catch up on which beauty queen has grown fat, which high school jock came out of the closet and which cheerleader who wouldn’t date you is now divorced and on the prowl.
A movie that struck familiar high school chords was the 1999 comedy “American Pie.” In fact, this teen flick inspired two sequels and four direct-to-DVD spin-offs.
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The first “American Pie” dealt with four high school buddies attempting to lose their virginity (largely unsuccessfully); the second film finds the gang reuniting at a summer beach house to do the same (largely unsuccessfully); and the third has Jim (Jason Biggs) getting married and his pals helping plan the wedding (largely unsuccessfully).
For the spin-offs the returning character is Jim’s dad (Eugene Levy).
While the settings range from band camp to college visit to frat house to restoring the fabled Book of Love, the common theme is losing one’s virginity (largely unsuccessfully).
Now we have “American Reunion,” the new entry in the franchise that finds the gang back in East Great Falls, Mich., for their high school class reunion.
Back for this sequel is the entire original cast. Biggs ; Chris Klein as jock Oz; Eddie Kaye Thomas as the suave Finch; Thomas Ian Nicholas as steady-as-he-goes Kevin; and Seann William Scott as that ol’ Stifler. Also returning are Alyson Hannigan as band camp gal Michelle; Shannon Elizabeth as sexy Nadia; Tara Reid as put-upon Vicky; Mena Suvari as former choirgirl Heather; Natasha Lyon as rumor-spreader Jessica; Jennifer Coolidge as Stifler’s mom; and that caterpillars-for-eyebrows funnyman Levy as Jim’s dad.
In the intervening years, Jim and Michelle married (see “American Wedding”), Kevin and Vicky broke up, Oz and Heather drifted apart and Finch still has fantasies about Stifler’s mom. As for Steve Stifler, well, he’s still Stifler.
Put them all together at a reunion in the old school gym and see how they reunite like snap-together magnets.
“My character hasn’t changed at all,” Scott said. “He’s doing the same stupid stuff. There’s a little bit more self-awareness. I think he realizes his best moments were in high school.”
But, the world around him has moved on.
“None of our lives are perfect,” Biggs said in the role of Jim. “But no matter what we’re going through we’ll always be there for each other.”
As Scott describes the movie, “You get everybody back, and so immediately it just has this nostalgic feel to it. And then you have them in an environment people can relate to, the 10-year high school reunion where people are looking forward to seeing the girl they used to be with. They’re looking back and going, ‘Wow, is this really where I thought I was going to be at this point of my life.’ And it’s a time to reflect, a pretty universal time in people’s life. I think that’s what’s pretty special about this movie.”
And the big news? Jim’s dad and Stifler’s mom finally meet.
“Jim’s dad is sad right now,” Coolidge said. “He needs a little cheering up.”
How do you live down an iconic role? You don’t; you just make a sequel.
Fans keep bring up the pie scene from the first movie to Biggs, 34.
“I am that guy,” he said with a shrug.
Scott, 35, has come to terms with being forever known as Stifler.
“We were just in Canada, and a lot of people were calling me ‘Stifler,’ and what was more fascinating was I started responding, because what else can I say? ‘Well my real name is Seann. Don’t you know Stifler is a character?’ The easiest thing is just to answer,” the actor said.
“I know when I decided to do ‘American Pie Reunion,’ it was like, ‘OK, let’s come to terms with the fact that I’m going to be forever known as this guy.’ You have to embrace it.”
As the promotion for “American Reunion” proclaims, “The thing is, you only get one chance at your 13th reunion.”
Or you wait for the DVD.
Shirrel Rhoades is the movie reviewer for Cooke Communications North Carolina. He can be reached at email@example.com.