The heart may not be the first organ you think of when it comes to "American Pie," but that raunchy 1999 teen comedy did have one. Despite all the jokes about human excretions, it understood that sex-crazed teenage boys have a sensitive side, and that girls are indeed made of both sugar and spice. All in all, a pretty accurate picture of adolescence.
Those glimmers of truth may have been missing from the countless "Pie" sequels, many of them straight-to-video releases with hardly a single original cast member. But "American Reunion" reconvenes the old gang in its entirety, and as people like to say at high-school reunions, they haven't changed a bit.
There's something bittersweet about seeing so many appealing but largely vanished actors reinhabiting their youthful roles. Jason Biggs, as Jim, is still so baby-faced that you almost believe that his 18-year-old neighbor (Ali Cobrin) would strip nude to seduce him. Thomas Ian Nicholas, as Kevin, has the same soulful eyes, while Eddie Kay Thomas again plays the slightly dark misfit Finch. As expected, Seann William Scott, as the tone-deaf party animal Stifler, and Eugene Levy, as Jim's not-so-prudish father, walk away with the most laughs. And what ever happened to Chris Klein and Mena Suvari, as the likable jock Oz and his first love, Heather? They once again provide the film's sweetest, most tender moments.
Grown men reverting to adolescence may not be the freshest concept, but writer-directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg make it work, partly by toning down the gross-out humor (slightly) and focusing more on memory lane. No spoilers here, but nearly everyone from the first film makes an appearance (yes, even Tara Reid). In the end, "American Reunion" even gets away with its sequel-baiting closing line: "Till next time!"
PLOT Thirteen years after "American Pie," the guys and gals attend their high school reunion. RATING R (nudity, crude humor, language)
PLAYING AT Area theaters
BOTTOM LINE Not as fresh as the original, but there's plenty of raunchy fun left in the old gang.