Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Movie – American Reunion (2012)

I was somewhat surprised when I heard another American Pie movie with the entire original cast was going to be coming out.  There had been four direct to video spin-offs that had seemed to suck dry whatever had been left in the tank for the franchise.  I wondered if this movie would be a big embarrassment for everyone involved.  As it turns out, it is the second best of the four theatrical movies.

The filmmakers were serious about getting everyone, and I mean everyone, back for this film.  In some cases these only amount to cameos – Shannon Elizabeth as Nadia, Natasha Lyonne as Jessica, Chris Owen as “the Sherminator”, and Justin Isfeld as MILF Guy #1.

The rest of the original cast have storylines:  Jason Biggs as Jim and Alyson Hannigan as his wife Michelle who now have a young child; Seann William Scott as Stifler, who has a job as an office temp; Eddie Kaye Thomas as Finch, who has been traveling the world; Thomas Ian Nicholas as Kevin, who is a completely emasculated husband; Tara Reid as his former girlfriend Vicky, who he may or may not still be attracted to; Chris Klein as Oz, who is now a national sports broadcaster and minor celebrity after being on Dancing with the Stars; Mena Suvari as his former girlfriend Heather, who he screwed up with years ago; and John Cho as John (aka MILF Guy #2), who is now estranged from MILF Guy #1.

An American Pie movie would not be complete without both Jim’s dad (Eugene Levy) and Stifler’s mom (Jennifer Coolidge).  And in a moment 13 years in the making, the two of them finally meet.  Jim’s mom (Molly Creek) passed away three years prior and Jim’s dad has been hesitant to think about meeting another woman.  Might Stifler’s mom the right woman for him?

Joining all of these folks for the first time are Dania Ramirez as Selena, a former band camp friend of Michelle who is attracted to Finch; Katrina Bowden as Oz’s wild girlfriend Mia; Jay Harrington as Heather’s heart surgeon fiancée; Rebecca De Mornay as Finch’s mom who, in another moment 13 years in the making, meets Stifler; Neil Patrick Harris in a cameo as himself; and Ali Cobrin as a girl next door that Jim used to babysit.  She’s all grown up now, is turning 18, and had the biggest crush on Jim when she was younger.  I think you can figure out that Jim is going to be in yet another awkward situation because of this. 

I do have to single out Ali Cobrin for her brief, but memorable appearance in this film.  While she is obviously there as eye candy (a job she fulfills very well), she also is genuinely, comically funny.  It’s not often that a woman that beautiful, who is also topless at the time, can make me laugh out loud at her physical comedy, but a scene where Jim is trying to get her drunk character back into her house without her parents finding out has a wonderful moment on the stairs where she is waving and shushing Jim’s friends.  It just made me break out laughing because it was the perfect capper for the scene.

The excuse for all these folks to get back together is their class’ 13th high school reunion.  Yes, they acknowledge in the film it makes little sense, but they play it for jokes.  It’s being organized by John, probably as a way to kill time to help him forget he lost his friendship with MILF Guy #1. 

Jim and Michelle have grown cold in the bedroom, now satisfying their urges independent of each other, but trying to hide this.  They hope a trip back to the old hometown for the reunion might rekindle some of the old flame.  The other characters with larger storylines also come back to town a little early to catch up.  Once again they try to exclude Stifler, but he finds out and inserts himself into the middle of things.  Hijinks ensue.

Stifler is still trying to pick up anything with boobs, and this includes hitting on high school girls by telling them his favorite Twilight book is New Moon.  He also gets the guys in trouble by getting revenge on some high school boys who are terrorizing the beach.  In a moment for everyone who has grown up along with the characters in the film, they ask themselves if they were that juvenile at that age, and then conclude that they probably were.

Other themes of growing up and maturing factor in to Finch’s, Oz’s, Kevin’s, Vicky’s, and Heather’s storylines, too. 

At one point I realized that the film was probably going to be over in another 20 minutes or so and I started wondering where a few of the characters like Nadia were.  They showed up for the reunion itself.  Nadia comes with a guy who looks a little bit like Jason Biggs.  Jessica has come out of the closet and is there with her girlfriend.  The Sherminator zeroes in on a girl that Stifler doesn’t want because she’s gained too much weight.  And even MILF Guy #1 shows up and he and John reconcile over their common interest in MILFs while watching the inevitable scene between Stifler and Finch’s mom.

Overall, this is a film that still has some laughs in it, but is also a little bit more mature than the prior films, in keeping with the concept of growing up.  It’s a bit of a nostalgia trip for the thirty year olds who saw the original film when they were in high school themselves.

You can probably watch this film with only having seen the first American Pie movie and still get pretty much all of the jokes and references.  If you liked the first film then I recommend that you give this one a try.

Chip’s Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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7 comments:

  1. Good review Chip. Though it wasn't as hilarious as I thought it should have been, the film still delivered on giving me a nice taste of nostalgia and just gave me a great glimpse at some of the people that I've missed seeing together for so long. Scott, once again, owns every scene here but at least everybody still has their chance to have fun too.

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    1. Thanks. While not remotely a drama, this film is a little more serious than its predecessors, which is in keeping with the idea of the characters all having matured a little.

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  2. Nice write up here, Chip. I just saw this not long ago, and as a fan of American Pie 1 and 2, I was looking forward to it. I think I agree with your assessment for the most part, but I gotta give it a lower grade. Nostalgia is the only reason to tune in, really. Biggs is the same age as me (one of my close friends actually went to high school with him). I got a kick out of seeing everyone again, and as always, I enjoy a good T&A showcase and raunchy dick jokes. But it's just not that funny. My interest was waning after an hour, so the last act just felt incredibly strained. I dunno, I'm glad I saw it, but am kind of bummed it didn't amount to much.

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    1. Thanks. I agree nostalgia is the biggest factor working for this film. It did work for me well enough to recommend this film.

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  3. Oh man, Ali Cobrin. So glad you mentioned her - I saw this yesterday and immediatly went to her imdb page, hope she makes more movies, she was really good and woah so gorgeous! My favorite part of the movie was probably Stiffler's reaction to the party which was classy and not at all what he expected.

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    1. Thanks. Sometime after seeing this film I saw a clip of Cobrin auditioning for, I believe, the TV show Girlfriends, which just had its first season and which generated some buzz. I haven't seen the show, but it would have been interesting if Cobrin was in that mix.

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