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Movie Review: American Reunion

April 6, 2012
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American Reunion is the fourth installment in the American Pie franchise, and since it takes place a decade after the first one, you kind of expect the team to step up to the plate, and bring something new to the genre. Nah, that would be too hard.  Why be original when you can recycle the same old shtick?

Back in 1999, American Pie was still a comedic anomaly. It was released around the time as There’s Something About Mary, and the two movies paved the way for a re-emergence of the raunchy rated-R comedy (though Porky’s will always be my touchstone).  At the time, those films were fresh, fun and exciting.  The trouble is, for the last 13 years we have been inundated with the exact type of film, and quite frankly, it’s become passé.

Sure, 13 years ago I thought poop in was hilarious, but after spending four years with kids in diapers, not so much. I don’t like to see poop in movies, and I certainly don’t want to hear it. I’m sure most of those who are revisiting the series feel the same way. But writers and directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (both worked on the Harold and Kumar movies) seem to think that a lazy duplication of the original material is sufficient enough to please.  They’ve completely overlooked the fact that their core audience has matured. Getting laid is no longer our greatest goal in life, so it’s flat out boring to watch perpetual horn dog Stifler talking about getting some. He’s constantly chasing after jailbait in the desperate hope that one of them will be stupid enough to find his juvenile antics enticing. God knows no woman his own age wants to have anything to do with him. I’ve got no qualms with Seann William Scott, but his character (Stifler) is now so grating that I found myself clenching my teeth every time he was on screen. COULD NOT STAND HIM.

For the first 10 minutes or so I thought there might be some hope for the film. We get to revisit each of the characters in the present. Oz (Chris Klein) is now a sport analyst who recently appeared on a Dancing With the Stars knockoff (shirtless) so he is recognized everywhere he goes. He lives with a vapid model (Katrina Bowden) who is spectacularly hot but can’t seem to go anywhere without plying herself with drugs and alcohol. Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) are married and experiencing a drought in their sex life now that there is a baby around. Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is a kept man (house-husband, rather) who wears the apron, not the pants in the household.

When the guys meet for their High School reunion, they are joined by Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) who has traveled the world, Heather (Mena Suvari), who is now a physician and Vicky (Tara Reid), who does something, I just can’t remember what.  She’s just thrown in as a token gesture anyway, so it really doesn’t matter what she has been doing.  A subplot involves Jim’s old neighbor Kara (Ali Cobron) who he used to babysit, but now that she’s a grown woman, she provides the requisite boob shots for the film.

As I mentioned, one bright spot is Eugene Levy as Jim’s (now widowed) father. Jim helps him discover online dating on a Jewish dating site, and we finally get to see him spend a little time with Stifler’s mom (Jennifer Coolidge). Their scenes together are the best part of the film, although there are a few nice moments during the finale that are (dare I say) touching? I would have loved it if the film would have explored the realities we see in those first ten minutes or so, it would have made for a much more interesting movie.

I think that teenagers who have never seen any of the Pie movies will find Reunion funny, because they don’t know any better. Hey, we all have a “first R-rated comedy” in our past. For those of us who had a genuine interest in what has happened to the gang, the film is a disappointment.  Been there, done that.

Rating 2/5  American Reunion is rated R. Written and Directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schossberg. Starring Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Mena Suvari, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Seann William Scott and Eddie Kaye Thomas

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