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American Reunion Movie Review


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3 Stars

Man, where does the time go? American Pie, the sleeper hit of 1999, is now thirteen years old! The last theatrical instalment, American Wedding, will celebrate its tenth anniversary next year. With Hollywood churning out more remakes and sequels than ever, it came as little surprise Universal announced it was going to go forward with yet another sequel, only with so many insipid direct to DVD sequels churned out, did anyone care?

As more information came to light, including the return of all the principle cast from the original, it seemed the answer was yes: we were all primed to see where these characters are in their lives, come the night of their high school reunion.

The original may be memorable for its outlandish set pieces and gross out moments, but what really made it succeed was a group of perfectly cast young actors who, along with a terrific script by Adam Herz, imbued these characters with a universal appeal and a lot of heart. None of the follow ups managed the magic of the original—although it must be said they were both enjoyable and were successes in their own right—but each had poignancy to a certain stage of life, and it was a joy to revisit with them. Whatever Pie from the primary series is your favourite, they were all well considered, and it was equally well considered by all involved to move on to other things.

Time has a way of making us nostalgic, which is gold for a studio, but rarely produces anything worth going back for. It may be that very theme that the makers of this latest entry were trying to resonate with audiences. Did they succeed?

Jim is all grown up, still married to Michelle, and, with a toddler in the house, finding their old wild ways somewhat lacking from their lives; Oz is a successful sports caster with a trophy girlfriend; Kevin is happily married but desperate for some guy time; Finch has been mysteriously absent out in the world; and Stifler is some tiny Napoleonic office jerk’s bitch. When the reunion invites all comes their way, they reunite to find not all things are as they want them and that some things you just can’t go back to—and that is not always a bad thing.

This is a well-timed and well-conceived story to tell with the original characters. But it is a tough story to tell, with so many storylines, and unfortunately some are more successful than others.

What hasn’t diminished in the last decade is the actors’ ease inhabiting these roles; they all slip back into them like a comfy pair of shoes. As always, Sean William Scott’s Stifler is a highlight and is responsible for most of the big laughs in the film; the film would be much less without his effortless irreverence and hijinks. Eugene Levy also rises to the occasion, and his final scene as the credits roll is one of the funniest he’s done in the entire series.

Biggs’ Jim is a welcome presence, and there are some of those always inventive moments of complete humiliation for him to go through, but they honestly don’t rise to what has come before. He does them well, and easily brings Jim’s appeal back, but the over predictable arc of his story doesn’t give him the room he needs to really shine. What he does prove unequivocally, even with a lacklustre arc, is that it just isn’t a Pie without Jim Levenstein. Also let down, story wise, are Alyson Hannigan, Tara Reid and Eddie Kaye Thomas. They are not given the moments needed to rekindle what has come before. There was time afforded, but opportunities lost. Subjects like marital ruts, temptation, life expectations—they are explored but not in any way that pushes things in a new direction. It’s all a little bit predictable, for the most part. Some true surprises are sorely missing, with the exception of Stifler’s revenge on Finch. What isn’t missing, not for a second, is the heart the actors give their characters.

There is fun to be had. All of the actors are in fine form and show why they and they alone are the ones who should continue the brand of American Pie. In this case, despite predictable plotting, it was indeed worth getting nostalgic and looking back with them. Reunion is a winner, if only to see these people back playing the characters that made them household names.

{2jtab: Film Details}

American Reunion Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R for crude and sexual content throughout, nudity, language, brief drug use and teen drinking.
: Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg
: Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg
Cast: Jason Biggs; Alyson Hannigan; Chris Klein; Tara Reid; Seann William ScottMena Suvari
Genre: Comedy
Save the best piece for last
Memorable Movie Quote: "Ladies, you'd better be working hard - you weren't hired for your looks. Actually you were. Not you."
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date: April 6, 2012
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details yet available.

Synopsis: It was summer 1999 when four small-town Michigan boys began a quest to lose their virginity. In the years that have passed, Jim and Michelle married while Kevin and Vicky said goodbye. Oz and Heather grew apart, but Finch still longs for Stifler's mom. Now these lifelong friends have come home as adults to reminisce about -- and get inspired by -- the hormonal teens they once were.

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