American Reunion (2012) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

American Reunion (2012)

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Are the 90’s really that long ago that we need these nostalgia trips?  In the last few years we have been given movies made and marketed to make money on all of us people who made the originals big hits.  Some have been successful at the box office like the Fast and the Furious films and sometimes the movie is an unfortunate box office dud like Scream 4. The newest film that is trying to recapture the lightning in a bottle magic is American Reunion, by reuniting the whole cast from the original American Pie to see if they could ring any more laughs (and money) out of the franchise.

American Reunion does not have the deepest or more complex plot: it is the high school class reunion of the American Pie characters. The last time we saw them, Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) were getting married, and all the jokes and gross out humor had been run into the ground by this time so you just felt bad for the actors doing these embarrassing things for very little payoff.  After American Wedding, the film series went to direct to video hell and that should have been all that was written.  Then the past 10 years happened and (trying to put this nicely) most of the actors failed to take Hollywood by storm, so back to the fray these characters go one more time.

This is like a 90 degree angle from being Dial M for Murder but with a flute. ... I'm sorry, I don't know where that came from.

The reason the first film was popular was because people liked spending time with these characters.  Jim and his dad had a sweet/awkward relationship and being the same age as these characters, I would have definitely been friends with them in high school.   Some of the jokes were funny but it was the relationships and characters that made it so enjoyable.

But as for American Reunion, well, while I don’t think this film was anything but a shameless cash grab to see if they could get more money out of a dying franchise, I am glad that they remembered it was the characters and not the gags that we wanted to see again.  I'm especially glad the filmmakers/actors decided to go this direction because the film was really not very funny.

When we meet up again with the group, Jim and Michelle are still married and with a 2 year old boy.  Oz (Chris Klein) is a C-level celebrity with his own sports show and a season of a dancing reality show under his belt.  Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is happily married, Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) has gone off the grid and Stifler (Sean William Scott) is still in arrested development.

Oh, hey, it's that guy! ... with a beard!

Although their school didn’t have a 10-year reunion, they are all getting together for their 13th year reunion.   The guys decide to get together a few days early to celebrate and recapture their “good ole days” and they all slowly realize life hasn’t worked out exactly as planned for any of them. Since it is an American Pie film, the pesky real world problems the characters are facing like job dissatisfaction, finding the right girl, balancing love and family life and growing up are all fixed by the end of the 2 hour running time.

Alright, if it sounds like I am being hard on American Reunion, truthfully, it was okay.  Like I said earlier, the jokes weren’t fresh or funny but nowhere near as bad as the train wreck of awfulness of American Wedding and the viewer could feel the movie trying really hard. In all honesty, it was kind of nice to catch up with the characters again.

When the first film came out in the summer of 1999, I had just graduated high school and could relate to the characters (not in the sexual shenanigans department though, my life was not that eventful).  When American Pie 2 came out, I was home for summer after my sophomore year of college and could relate to feeling you don’t belong to the world and places you used to.  Then, when American Wedding was released, I had just graduated from college and was engaged much like Jim.

All of this back story is to say that I get the characters place in life and have gone through similar trajectories just without all the madcap hijinks.  So when we pick up with these characters year later, I see not only myself in some of the characters but also some of my friends from both high school and beyond.  I could relate to Jim going from guy to dad and how that changes your outlook on life.  Finch reminded me of a friend of mine who has gone off the grid for months at a time only to pop up in Beijing or living in his car in New Orleans.  I have friends who are happily married but still think of what could have been. And I also have friends that are helplessly stuck in a time long since passed.

I have friends who have big bushy eyebrows and haven't been in a good movie in more than a decade and a half... oh, wait, no, that was just the movie this time.

I could relate with the themes of the story that the movie was playing with in-between shit jokes and girls boobs.  I am not calling this film The Last Picture Show of my generation or even the Diner of my generation, but I do commend the film for at least trying to show the characters are in different parts of their lives then they were 13 years ago.

This review has been long, rambling and a little too autobiographical so I am going to try to sum it up really quick.  What did I think of American Reunion?  It is a comedy that is not funny but still somewhat redeemable because the cast plays these characters so well and truthfully.

Should a person spend $10+ to see the film in the theater?  It depends on how big a fan you were of the series, if you liked American Pie for the characters it is still enjoyable.  If you didn’t care for or never seen an American Pie film, this movie is not for you.  So to end I will ask the question once again, has the 90’s, the time of my youth really that long ago that people can start making money on the nostalgia tip like it is classic rock?  If the fact that this movie along with Titanic are both in the theaters (again) for this very reason, I must say that yes. Yes it is.

... Shit, I'm getting old!

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Posted by Ryan

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  1. The original gang is back and still have the comedic timing they did 13 years ago, which is always fun no matter what. There isn’t anything new or special about this entry into the series but for anyone who wants some nice 1999 nostalgia, then this is the perfect fit. Good review Danny. I liked it a lot more than the previous two sequels though, which may not be saying too much but still says something.

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