Friday, April 6, 2012

Movie Review: American Reunion

(left to right) Nicholas, Biggs, Scott, Klein and Thomas
American Reunion (2012)
Directed by: Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg
Starring: Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, Chris Klein, Alyson Hannigan, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Thomas Ian Nicholas and Eugene Levy

I reviewed this film for Next Projection.

It’s unlikely that anyone was seriously asking for another slice of this pie.


After three theatrical installments and four direct-to-DVD spin-offs, Hollywood serves up yet another round of American Pie in the hopes that people will actually care about what happened to Jim, Stifler and Co. in the years following their high school graduation.

American Reunion tries to provide a heavy dose of nostalgia, albeit one cloaked in crude sex jokes and a relentlessly ‘90s soundtrack.

It’s been 13 years since the gang graduated from East Great Falls High School and they finally reunite to celebrate what should have been their 10-year reunion – only no one thought to actually put one together, hence the three-year delay.

So, where are they now? Jim Levenstein (Jason Biggs) married his longtime love, Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), and is the father to a toddler son. Oz (Chris Klein) is a successful sportscaster with a bombshell girlfriend (30 Rock’s Katrina Bowden). The perpetually single Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) is still his usual droll self, although he’s finally given an age-appropriate love interest. Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) got married and grew a beard. And, finally, Stifler (Seann William Scott) became – well – an older version of Stifler.

They gather together, drink beer, chase after high school girls and mourn their lost youth – although a significant fraction of their youthful immaturity has certainly remained intact.

In a franchise of poorly drawn females – they are all either bland prudes, band nerds or over-sexed caricatures – the women merely make cameo appearances. Good girl Heather (Mena Suvari) may or may not still pine over Oz while former party girl Vicky (Tara Reid) isn’t even given enough screen time to let her friends in on what she’s been up to for the past decade.

Eugene Levy and Jason Biggs
Series star Biggs goes through the motions and continues to endure an endless string of painfully awkward humiliations, even going full frontal in a desperate attempt to garner a few laughs, but it all feels forced.

These one-note characters feel hollow and devoid of any charm. Their crude antics have grown more tiresome with each passing film and the fact that, this time around, Jim has to fend off the aggressive advances of an 18-year-old girl he used to babysit is as improbable as it is icky.

Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, creators of the Harold and Kumar series, take over the writer-director reins from franchise originals Chris and Paul Weitz. Unfortunately, this latest flick lacks the ability to seamlessly blend crude humour with a poignant sweetness – the recipe that made the 1999 original an instant teen classic.

It’s tough to match the current Judd Apatow mold of expertly mixing in laughs with the genuine sincerity of its characters. As a result, this latest American Pie venture, and its empty brand of gross-out humour, feels outdated.

The highlights are perennial favourites Eugene Levy as Jim’s lonely, widowed father and the always-glorious Jennifer Coolidge as Stifler’s mom.

With a two hour running time, the movie feels about 25 minutes too long. While there are fun moments, they are ultimately forgettable and you’d be hard-pressed to recall any of the jokes once the final credits roll.

American Reunion lacks that lethal combination of touching wistfulness and crude humour that made the first piece of Pie so memorable. This shtick has grown stale.

FINAL GRADE: C

3 comments:

  1. I'm sure this movie isn't all that great, but I like them any way. Totally going to see it. Good review.

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    1. Thanks! Let me know what you think.

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  2. Wonderful review! I can’t wait to see if this movie, which I hope is better than the last few movies from the American Pie series. I’ve watched all the other movies using my DISH online feature, where I have access to thousands of movies. I can stream movies to my iPad or laptop when I’m on the road or at a motel. I can access my DVR recordings or live TV, so I never miss what’s going on. This is one of the best recommendations from my coworker at DISH.

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