Caught a preview screening of this movie tonight in NYC. I am 26 years old now, so I was in 8th grade when the original came out.
Thought the first two were awesome but thought the third noticeably drifted away from what made the first two special.(A little too much Stifler).
For American Pie 4, when I saw the preview I was excited to see them all back together, but I didn't know what to expect. I know Hollywood loves destroying sequels and I didn't know how they were going to create a story line out of characters that really haven't been together in forever.
Fear not. I though this movie was almost as good as the original. Two hours of non-stop cracking-up, but none of it was forced. They brought back all the characters, but in a way that didn't seem thrown together or in-genuine. It was about 2 hours and 15 minutes long, but not once did I think this was dragging. They did a nice job explaining where everyone has been and it didn't really seem awkward.
The best part of it is, the story is about all 5 of the original guys, and their relationship with women and sex at their current juncture (31 years old). Each have their own issues (too married, have kids, hate their jobs, hate their lifestyle, etc.) and the movie is kind of about them all resolving their that over the course of a reunion weekend. It's the American Pie which is most similar too the first one. All the old couples from high-school (Oz/Heather, Kevin/Vicky, Jim/Michelle) re-hash their past feelings.
Another great thing about the film is that Stifler's character is written back in the style of American Pie 1 and 2, which I loved. His part is not over bearing like the Wedding. Kevin, Finch (and Oz) play much bigger roles than they did they did in the third.
There a couple new characters but none of them are annoying or take up too much of the story, all those parts are well cast. Jim's Dad and Stifler's Mom are hilarious on screen together. Jim's Dad is the funniest he has ever been- but again- not in an over the top way. All in all, it's a well-written, well-rounded film with some good plot twists. Tons of references too the old films. Literally, all of the obscure characters from the first two make an appearance at some point.
BOTTOM LINE: 9/10. If you are a fan of the American Pie films (especially 1 & 2) your going to LOVE this movie. Worth the $.