Cinema Review – American Reunion
Out last weekend here in the UK, American Reunion brings back some very familiar faces to our silver screens, Teri investigates
The American Pie franchise lost its charm for me halfway through the Wedding film. Bloated, overlong and just a bit… well, unfunny, it was then I sighed, ‘give it a rest and put it to bed… without any funny stuff’. When I first heard about American Reunion, I of course didn’t give it much of my attention because I feared it would suffer from the same problems that the third movie (and all of the other straight-to-DVD sequels) did. Alas, I walked in with very hesitant expectations, and again I didn’t want the charm and nostalgia sucked out of the first two movies which had been not only been perfect sleepover fodder for me and my friends when we were younger, but seminal comedies of their time.
I am happy to report that the hesitation was short-lived. Reunion, as it turns out, is a genuinely hilarious addition to the Pie-chise and more importantly, it actually has a heart and doesn’t stop at gross-out humour to keep the comedy machine churning. So, as most of you who know the series will probably know, it’s something like a decade after high school and the ‘gang’ – Jim, Michelle, Stifler, Oz, Kevin et al are getting together for a reunion: the class of ‘99. Cue the late-90s/early 00s college tunes (Lit, blink-182, Barenaked Ladies, Third Eye Blind, Everclear… you know the rest), the return of old jokes (MILF, Shitbreak, etc – but a distinct lack of fucked baked goods) and friends who have drifted apart trying to mend the ties that bound them as teenagers.
Yes, you heard me, old jokes – you think the guys would know better by now, but no, masturbating into a tube sock is still kosher, it’s okay to defecate into someone’s beer cooler for revenge, MILFs are still hot (but why aren’t they called cougars now?)… you get the picture. Jim and co have had thirteen years (and thirteen years apart, too) to grow out of their high school personas, yet they still seem to be dragging their heels in the tired pits of retro sex comedy. This might annoy some viewers, but lovers of the original film will find it a nice trip down memory lane, like I did – just not necessarily groundbreaking. What seems to be the focus of attention is returning - they’re all grown up now, kind of, but they’ve fallen apart as friends and that needs to be resolved. Jim’s… well, I’m not really sure what Jim’s doing apart from being a father and having something of a wandering eye, Kevin’s a stay-at-home husband/architect and now he apparently has a beard, Oz is a cheesy sports-caster and from what I can tell is married to a stereotypical page-3 type model, Finch is a bit of an enigma, a so-called man of the world who has been all over and experienced everything and everyone, and Stifler – Stifler’s the same old Stifler, still vying to be the life of the high school party, and while Jim, Kevin, Oz and Finch initially avoid him, they all eventually end up drawn together in the end, kind of like Stand By Me without tragedy or much of the morals.
So American Reunion may at times feel like beating a dead horse with a stick, but there’s some shallow fun to be had in it: John Cho’s brief appearance literally had me crying with laughter (that guy really needs to get more comedy roles), Jennifer Coolidge is literally brilliant and so of course is Eugene Levy as Jim’s hapless dad. It’s… er, interesting, to see Tara Reid ‘act’ again (I never really saw what Kevin saw in her, to be honest), and it’s of course curious to see all of the old actors in the same space again, especially since most of them have such varying (and mostly flagging) careers; Sean William Scott and Alyson Hannigan are clearly the winners of the bunch, both in character and offscreen in their other work, but return of Adam Sandler lookalike Jason Biggs begs the question: are you guys getting anything out of this? Will we see more – whether it’s another Pie movie or opportunities elsewhere? I guess we should watch this space.
About The Author – Teri Williams
Teri is a former film student from Edinburgh and currently works in book publishing in London. She is a fan of bad taste films, horror, fantasy, science fiction and vintage teen comedy and has been described by her friends as a “proper nerd” and a human imdb. She can be found speaking nonsense under the twitter name @msenidcoleslaw and scribbling similar nonsense on her blog Enid’s Revenge