I distinctly remember the first time I heard of American Pie. Not the endless Don Mclean song or the terrible Madonna cover version. No, no, no, I was told there was a film in which a guy humped an apple pie. At the time that sounded like the funniest thing in the world to my immature young mind. Even thinking about it now can still illicit a chuckle. I’m older but still flying the flag for immaturity.
Said pie humping was over a decade ago though and while still an image that lingers, whether you want it to or not, it has been overshadowed by more extreme examples of gross out comedy. In truth, the gross out moments and raunchier elements in American Pie seem rather quaint when put up against more recent offerings like The Hangover, Superbad, Bridesmaids and the Jackass movies.
Even the sequels to American Pie have grosser and raunchier moments such as Jim gluing his hand to his penis in the second one and Stifler eating dog shit in the third. Despite these classy moments of cinema the American Pie series has been a largely welcome one (ignore the terrible spin off movies Band Camp, The Naked Mile, Beta House and Book of Love.) The reason being that in between the crude gags is genuine sweetness and affection for these characters. Even my teenage self sitting in the cinema all those years ago felt invested in the characters quests to pop their cherry because on a very basic level I could relate to their plight. For the record I have never humped an apple pie. I’m a rhubarb kind of guy.
Now we have American Pie: The Reunion featuring all your favourite characters back in action even the ones that missed out on American Wedding. So please welcome back Chris Klein, Mena Suvari, Natasha Lyonne, Shannon Elizabeth and ex Celebrity Big Brother ‘star’ Tara Reid playing characters so uninteresting that they were dropped from the third film. Getting rid of the dead wood in third part American Wedding really should have made it the best of the bunch but unfortunately just meant the film focused more on Stifler who is probably better used in small doses. I guess bringing them back will add to the nostalgia feel and hopefully provide some unintentional comedy from Chris Klein whose acting style can be charitably called ‘dumb robot’ and Tara Reid who hasn’t been able to move her face since 2008.
Despite the inclusion of some of the duller characters and the less than stellar reviews I still want to see American Reunion. Mostly it goes back to that feeling of empathy for the characters in that no matter how ridiculous or disgusting the situations they find themselves in the characters are so good natured and likeable that you can’t help root for them. In this case despite the waning of these types of high school gross out films there is a very good chance that the American Pie gang is still relevant in these Judd Apatow types of comedy times. In fact the reunion aspect will probably play better as we can see the characters lives have changed as they have entered the realm of marriages, babies and careers. This coming of age/being grownups type of comedy has been used well in recent films such as Knocked Up, Funny People and Bridesmaids, so in that regards American Reunion may sit well with the recent crop of funny but heartfelt comedies. Or it may just feature characters putting their penises into things they really shouldn’t, like Tara Reid.
Five Gross Out Comedies That Will Disgust You (In a Pleasant Way)
The granddaddy of gross-out comedy. While incredibly tame by today’s standards it does feature an impressively scummy performance from the late John Belushi. His impression of a zit is timeless.
Dumb and Dumber
The first and best of the Farrelly brothers comedies. Notable for an explosive diarrhea scene and Jeff Daniels tongue stuck to a frozen ski lift.
Jackass: The Movie
Despite the presence of every bodily function being hurled at the screen (especially horrific in Jackass 3D) this is surprisingly fun due to the inherent likability of the Jackass crew
There’s Something About Mary
The second great Farrelly brothers comedy most famous for the ‘hair gel’ scene and the wince inducing shot of trapped genitals in a zipper.
OK, this one is definitely not pleasant. Twisted director John Waters tale of the ‘filthiest people alive’ doesn’t disappoint. Hilariously sick.