Film Review by Kam Williams
Fading Franchise Revived for Sophomoric Hijinks at H.S. Reunion
To some, it probably seems like only yesterday that the high school seniors at the center of American Pie were on a mission to lose their virginity before their graduation. But that was actually 2 sequels (American Pie 2 and American Wedding) and 4 spinoffs ago, so the testosterone-blinded buddies have long-since graduated and gone their separate ways, each leaving the State of Michigan, ostensibly to make his mark on the world.
Thus, at the point of departure of American Reunion, we find terminally-awkward Jim (Jason Biggs) wed to former band geek Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) and raising a mischievous toddler (George Christopher Bianchi) who gets into everything. Meanwhile, macho jock Oz (Chris Klein) is now a high-profile TV sportscaster in L.A.; brainy Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is married and working as an architect; and mysterious Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) is a bohemian fantasizing about doing something more daring than managing a Staples store in Jersey.
Fast approaching middle-age, the buddies decide to put their lives on hold to return to their hometown of East Great Falls to attend their 13th annual high school reunion. There, they encounter iconic classmates Stifler (Seann William Scott) and The Shermanator (Chris Owen); Kevin’s ex-girlfriend, Vicky (Tara Reid), and Oz’s-ex Heather (Mena Suvari); as well as a couple of unforgettable parents in Stifler’s mom (Jennifer Coolidge) and Jim’s dad (Eugene Levy).
Over the course of the ensuing, eventful weekend, these nostalgic alumni reminisce while again becoming embroiled in sordid affairs and sophomoric hijinks suggestive of immature men desperate to recapture their youth. For instance, Kevin gets so drunk that when he wakes up naked next to Vicky, he can’t remember whether he’s just cheated on his wife (Charlene Amoia).
Elsewhere, Jim is tempted by the topless, 18 year-old next-door neighbor (Ali Kobrin) he used to babysit for as a child. And Stifler’s still Stifler. He’s not above infantile pranks like pooping into a beer cooler and totally trashing jet skis.
And so forth. You know the drill. As for the elders, Jim’s recently-widowed father shares a joint with Stifler’s mom before succumbing to the well-preserved temptress’ womanly charms.
Frankly, this reassembled ensemble looks a little long-in-the-tooth to be partaking in depravity ranging from indiscriminate coupling to over-imbibing in alcohol and ecstasy. A telltale sign that the cast might have run its course is the lack of enthusiasm (other than Eugene Levy and Seann William Scott) with which it delivers its lines.
An underwhelming last gasp of an expiring franchise strictly for diehards inclined to laugh a final time at a plethora of recycled slapstick, potty humor and graphic sight gags.
Good (2 stars)
Rated R for full frontal nudity, profanity, drug use, teen drinking, pervasive crude humor and graphic sexuality.
Running time: 113 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Sunday, April 8, 2012