alyson hannigan, american pie, american reunion, chris klein, comedy, eddie kaye thomas, eugene levy, jason biggs, jennifer coolidge, porky's, r. kelley, seann william scott, sex, stifler, the lorax
Grade: D (SKIP IT)
“CONTROL YOUR BODY!” barked one harried mother to her small son as she shepherded both her children through the movie lobby and toward the usher. The parental command was strikingly apropos as we diverged, she into “The Lorax” and I into a nearly empty showing of “American Reunion,” the pathetically pointless addition to the “American Pie” franchise and asinine add-on to that 1999 original, the sequel from 2001, and “American Wedding” from 2003. The teenage sex comedy occupies a peculiar place in the field of American movie genres. Before there was Howard Stern on the radio, there was “Porky’s” (1982) in theatres to stoke the sexual fires of the adolescent mentality and later, its heir “American Pie” to show just one way to enjoy a pastry that you won’t see on the Food Network.
That “American Reunion” opens with the bedroom music of R. Kelley;’s “Bump N’ Grind” – “My mind is telling me no/But my body is telling me yes!” – further drove this point home, for the “American Pie” films have long exploited the pubescent struggle between bodily drives and social mores, libido and law, or put in more Freudian terms, the id and the super-ego.
Since “American Wedding,” poopy pampers and the “Real Housewives” series have put a domestic crimp in their single man’s style. There are zero surprises in store when Jim (Jason Biggs), Stifler (an amusing Seann William Scott), Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), Oz (Chris Klein), and Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) regroup for their 13th reunion at East Green Falls High School. Freed from his corporate temp-job and living with his mother, Stifler toasts his friend with this: “Let’s make this weekend our bitch!” What is surprising is that none of the main characters have matured much. Written and directed by Jon Hurwitz, “American Reunion” doesn’t exactly develop the characters created by Adam Hertz; instead, they’ve regressed further into genital jokes and the antics of topless drunk girls. Fortunately, there are comic veterans Eugene Levy (Jim’s Dad) and Jennifer Coolidge (Stifler’s Mom) to lend the film some sincerity. Having his eyebrows trimmed by son Jim and daughter-in-law Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), Levy tells them: “Those caterpillars are my trademark.”
Earlier in “American Reunion,” after defecating in a cooler and destroying a prized pair of jet-skis, Stifler boasts to his buddies: “C’mon guys. That was funny!” “Yeah,” Jim shoots back, “in high school.” Ditto that. The year of the original film’s release, 1999, is also telling because it dovetails with Prince’s apocalyptic pledge, from 1982, that “we’re going to party like it’s 1999.”
Someone needs to tell Stifler and the gang that the party’s over.
I’ve been shocked at some of the positive (or marginally positive) reviews this has been getting. I liked the original when it came out, granted, I was 16 at the time, but the rest have been totally superfluous. Nice read!
Thanks; yes, this is truly a time-waster.
Logan Burd said:
My dad left during exactly one film…Airplane!, which I have since grown to love! I can’t imagine this being a movie to walk out of, of all the films you’ve reviewed!
AIRPLANE is a classic; don’t call me Shirley, Shirley! And AMERICAN REUNION is very much a movie to leave behind! Catching a movie this weekend?
Logan Burd said:
I saw Titanic 3D yesterday, which was remarkable. It was a dream come true to see it in theaters, I was 5 in 1997.
Nice! Well I suppose it was worth rereleasing for the younger generation then!
Logan Burd said:
A plea for even more money, I’m sure, but for me it was well worth it!
Colin, your review pretty much confirms my suspicions about this film. I think I can safely give this film a pass.
Ouch, I liked it better than you Colin. While I agree Stiffler should have been stifled (Edith) I did like seeing them trying to regain their earlier youth. Heck they’re not that old, they’re not approaching 50 yet. Also Eugene Levy and Jennifer Coolidge were a scream. I gave it a B.
I liked this one a lot more than the other sequels but I will admit that it still could have been a lot better. It was great to have these characters all back together again though and I think that’s where the film really worked for me. Total nostalgia. Good review bud.
I didn’t realize this was even going to theaters. I thought it was one of those straight to DVD things.
Certainly felt like “straight” to DVD…just awful retread here.
I agree that the American Pie series needs to call it quits, since it’s just running the brand of one of my all-time favourite teen comedies from 1999 into the ground! Still, I tried to be a little more forgiving of this one, because A) it’s MUCH better than the awful straight-to-DVD follow-ups that were only made to milk the fanbase, and B) at least it works somewhat as a nostalgia piece for people who were really attached to the older movies like me.
The appeal is limited though, granted, especially since competing comedies screening right now (i.e. 21 Jump Street, Wanderlust) are MUCH better.
Well that’s the logic of Hollywood: if it sells, just re-sell it until it’s cadaverous. I should have caught “21,” which got fairly positive reviews. Thanks for reading!
Tom Austin-Morgan said:
Your comments about the characters not being develpoed further is a good point (thank god for Eugene Levy!). Plus it did look like a lot of the cast were there to pick up the money, as I said in my review.
Though, I thought it passed the comedy laugh test, I laughed more than a few times, more than I did at the woeful ‘Your Highness’ last year (I can honestly say I didn’t even crack a smile). But it’s not on a par with more modren comeies like ‘Superbad’ and ’21 Jump Street’.
They need to leave this franchise where it is. Anotheer good read, sir.
Thank YOU, sir; Oh man, YOUR HIGHNESS was a catastrophic flop despite Danny McBride whom I kind of worship. Sorry I missed 21 JUMP this year because people really sang its comic praises. Thanks for reading. What are you reviewing next?