Review: American Reunion
PLOT: The gang's all here, in this, the latest instalment of the AMERICAN PIE series, which finds Jim (Jason Biggs), Oz (Chris Klein), Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) and Stiffler (Seann William Scott) descending on their home town for a reunion weekend of booze, babes and shenanigans.
REVIEW: Time to party like it's 1999 people! As incredible as it seems, it really has been thirteen years since AMERICAN PIE set a new high (or low) for onscreen depravity. To me, the original film holds a certain nostalgic value, as it's release coincided with my graduation from high school. However, none of the sequels have really been my thing. I checked out all of the legit ones (none of the AMERICAN PIE PRESENTS DTV crap), and they were funny enough once- but other than the first one none of them hold up terribly well.
That said, someone at Universal probably still figured there was money to be made, and as the oldest guy in the bunch is only thirty-five, why not bring them back for another go round? It worked for FAST & FURIOUS...
All in all, AMERICAN REUNION works reasonably well. One of the strengths of the series has always been that the core characters are a likable bunch, and it's kind of fun checking up on them as adults. That said, this ain't exactly THE BIG CHILL, as most of the fellas (especially Stiffler) are just as juvenile as they were in the other movies.
There's something almost comforting in that though, as it's not an altogether unappealing idea to have another round of gross-out chuckles with a gang you always kinda liked. Sure, it's not a particularly great film, but I chuckled more than a few times through the film.
All told, there's not much growth for the characters from what you saw in the last instalment. Jim and Michelle are still married- and yes, Jim still has the tendency to maim himself every time he tries to sneak away for a wank. Stiffler's the same idiot he's always been (despite supposedly finding true love with January Jones- who's not surprisingly absent here, in the last film) and now working as a much abused temp for a jerk financial whiz. Kevin's now a stay-at-home, henpecked husband, while Oz is a TV sports reporter, coming off an embarrassing run on a DANCING WITH THE STARS style-show (yes- we get a clip). As for Finch, well, he's an enigma as always, at least until later in the film. Truth be told, Eddie Kaye Thomas as Finch was always my favourite part of these movies, and here he gets a smokin' hot love interest (HEROES' Dania Ramirez) that's NOT Stiffler's mom for a change. Don't worry though, she's back, as is Jim's dad (Eugene Levy)- who's still probably the most popular character in the series (the audience I saw this with cheered when he showed up).
The gals are back too- even Tara Reid. Of the bunch though, it has to be said that Mena Suvari, as Oz's love interest Heather looks incredible, and probably better than she did in '99. I wouldn't be surprised if this gives her a nice little comeback. Speaking of ageing well, Rebecca DeMornay has a cameo as someone's (guess who?) MILF-ish mom. They were on to something in WAYNE'S WORLD when they used to call her Rebecca De Hornay...
In the AMERICAN PIE totem, I'd say AMERICAN REUNION ranks a notch above the second and third films, but still pales in comparison to the first film which- thanks to the Weitz Bros., had a certain sweetness none of the other films have really managed to recapture (although new directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg of HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO GUANTANMO BAY give it a shot). The biggest problem here is the pacing, with it lagging a little too often, and the close to two hour running time feels a bit bloated. A tight ninety minutes probably would have been better. Some of the subplots are also extraneous, especially the one involving Jim and his neighbour- although this does give us a healthy dose of T&A, so maybe I shouldn't be complaining...
For what it is though, AMERICAN REUNION is a pleasant watch, although like the last two, it's good for a one-time watch, and probably not too much more than that. Don't believe any of the hype though about this being the last film in the series. If this does well, I wouldn't be surprised to see more, and that's acknowledged by the ending, which leaves an opening for a whole slew of potential sequels. Well see, but as it is, this was still decent for a few yuks.
|Extra Tidbit:||A bunch of songs from the first film pop up on the soundtrack once the reunion kicks in. Nice touch.|