American Reunion Movie Review
In 1999, a raunchy teenage sex comedy about a group of high school friends wanting to lose their virginity called AMERICAN PIE became an unlikely blockbuster. Rejuvenating the genre with relatively unknown actors, AMERICAN PIE spawned two sequels in AMERICAN PIE 2 and AMERICAN WEDDING, plus several straight to video spinoffs AMERICAN PIE PRESENTS: BAND CAMP, THE NAKED MILE, BETA HOUSE and THE BOOK OF LOVE (yeah, that many). With the cast all grown up, thirteen years later seemed appropriate to launch AMERICAN REUNION – a rather awkward time span, but as good as time as any to bring the characters back for their high school reunion.
The main story is between Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) who are married with their first child and having a few problems taking time to be intimate with one another. The little girl Jim use to babysit is all grown up and is aggressively trying to seduce him. Somehow, the filmmakers attempt to find humor in Jim trying to resist infidelity while hiding the unlikely chaos from his wife and forcing them into ridiculous situations. We meet the rest of the crew in very different lives and are as followed. Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) has travelled the world jumping to and from different adventures and given very little story to work with. Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is a stay at home husband and once again relegated with the most boring and unfunny storyline of getting into a situation that pits him possibly cheating on his wife. Oz (Chris Klein) is a sports broadcaster on ESPN with a smoking hot girlfriend (Katrina Bowden) who has an affinity with experimental drugs and an experienced sexual past. As one of the funnier characters from the original, Klein shines once again, this time being recognized as a past contestant from a “Dancing with the Stars” type of program. I’ve given him a hard time for performances in some of our worst reviewed movies like CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE and STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN-LI, but Klein should definitely stick to humor because he is easily one of the brighter spots of a pretty boring comedy.
A few of the other positive moments come from the always rudely crass Stifler (Seann William Scott) who is back to his old shtick insulting everyone and getting the gang into trouble. But the best parts come from the supporting roles, specifically Jim’s Dad (Eugene Levy) and Stifler’s Mom (Jennifer Coolidge) who are back again and garnering most of the laughs.
I personally never fully enjoyed the original AMERICAN PIE, let alone the franchise as much as others, but I respect the captured feel of the awkward male along with a few key memorable scenes that admittedly even had me laughing. However, I am surprised at the broad appeal it still seems to generate. AMERICAN REUNION is a basic repetitive attempt to capitalize off the success from the original. Since most of the actors continued on with bombs in television and film, save perhaps William Scott (ROLE MODELS), Hannigan (HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER) and John Cho (STAR TREK) who plays MILF Guy #2 (and along with every other small supporting role returns for their own special moment), bringing everyone (including Tara Reid, Mena Suvari and Natasha Lyonne) back now for a reunion film was a fun and clever idea to cash in on its audiences nostalgia – despite awkwardly explaining a thirteen year reunion and garnering most of its jokes by remembering the first movie (Jim’s dance and premature time with Nadia is brought up nearly a dozen times).
Overall, AMERICAN REUNION does manage to score a few laughs but ultimately is far too slow, taking itself way too seriously, attempting too many after school special dramatic moments. As a comedy, infidelity is never funny and the film definitely flirts too closely to that line while relying too heavily on people’s love for the original.