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American Reunion

by

Jeff Nelson

American Reunion comes recommended to true fans of the original trilogy, everybody else should approach this one with caution.

American Reunion
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In 1999, the film American Pie was surprisingly a big hit. Its vulgarity was very popular with moviegoers, so there were two more motion pictures that followed it, containing the original cast. Afterwards, four dreadful direct-to-video sequels were released without the original cast. There was nothing anybody could say to excuse them. However, a fourth film was scheduled to be released in 2012. At first I thought this was nothing but a rumor, but it ended up being true. What surprised me even more was that the entire original cast was back! I instantly became hyped up to see what the old gang can bring back to the big screen. Fortunately, the film serves as the true fourth entry to the series and takes place years later. With the changes in comedy lately, focusing more on social commentary than before, is American Reunion successful in bringing everybody back or does it get confused with what it really wants to be?

The four lustful buddies of American Pie return to East Great Falls for their 10-year high school reunion and a flood of memories. The guys look back at their quest to lose their virginity in the first film and reconnect to catch up on what they have been doing over the years. My expectations were set on seeing the old group get back together and chaos to unfold through the sexual humor. Instead, we're left with a film that's mainly looking back at what has occurred in the first film. They refer back to the 'old times' a bit too much for my tastes. I would have preferred for these characters to be living in the present so that fans could experience a whole new adventure explored by the original cast. Getting past that, the screenplay is hit and miss. American Reunion has its moments where it's laugh out loud funny. During these sequences, the film truly returns to the firm roots that the original planted back in 1999. There are other portions of the movie where it simply isn't as funny as I was hoping. Once we finally reach the final act of the picture, it becomes cheesy and predictable, just as we'd expect any romantic comedy. So far, it might seem as if I dislike American Reunion. I actually still found myself entertained by the group. I found myself most enjoying the scenes with Jim's Dad. He provides most of the laugh-out-loud-worthy moments throughout. However, Stifler still is able to create some laughs. Unfortunately, my biggest issue with American Reunion's screenplay is that it has too many reheated stale jokes that feel as if they were torn from the past sequels. It still has its moments, but I would have preferred if the movie stayed more in the present so we could see some more of the crazy adventures instead of flashing back so often.

One of the biggest bright sides here is seeing everybody from the original return. This includes Jason Biggs as Jim, Alyson Hannigan as Michelle, Chris Klein as Oz, Thomas Nicholas as Kevin, Tara Reid as Vicky, Seann William Scott as Steve Stifler, Mena Suvari as Heather, and a few others. Even though they're now all grown up, they still seem to have the same shenanigan chemistry that they once had in the original. As mentioned before, some of the better moments are with Eugene Levy as Jim's Dad. Levy has been the only member of the original cast to somehow continue to return through the crappy direct-to-video sequels, but he's able to own the screen when given the correct material. I would say that in American Reunion he's a success. Seann William Scott is great as Stifler, but that's nothing new. I would have liked if the filmmakers utilized the rest of the cast as much as they did Jim's Dad. If they did, this could have been one hell of a funny flick. Instead, I left feeling like multiple characters weren't used to his or her full potential, ultimately being a missed opportunity.

True fans of the 1999 American Pie will be happy to know that American Reunion returns to the roots of the original. The rest of moviegoers will wonder why they keep talking about what happened 13 years ago so often and why it's so relevant. I think that the concept is good and it was a great idea to bring everybody back, but not all of the jokes hit like they should have. Some of them are new and pretty damn funny while others sound all too familiar. Perhaps my expectations were set a bit too high for this one, but it wasn't quite as good as I was expecting for it to be. It ended up being just alright. American Reunion comes recommended to true fans of the original trilogy, everybody else should approach this one with caution.

My Rating = Three Stars

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