Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Movie Review: American Reunion

American Reunion ***
Directed by: Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg.
Written by: Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg based on characters created by Adam Herz.
Starring: Jason Biggs (Jim Levenstein), Alyson Hannigan (Michelle), Chris Klein (Oz), Thomas Ian Nicholas (Kevin), Tara Reid (Vicky), Seann William Scott (Steve Stifler), Mena Suvari (Heather), Eddie Kaye Thomas (Finch), John Cho (MILF Guy #2), Jennifer Coolidge (Stifler's Mom), Eugene Levy (Jim's Dad), Natasha Lyonne (Jessica), Dania Ramirez (Selena), Katrina Bowden (Mia), Jay Harrington (Dr. Ron), Chuck Hittinger (AJ), Shannon Elizabeth (Nadia), Chris Owen (Sherman), Justin Isfeld (MILF Guy #1), Ali Cobrin (Kara).

Like Scream 4 last year, American Reunion is an exercise in 1990s nostalgia. I like Scream 4 last year, and I liked American Reunion this year. Being the same age as the characters in the films probably has something to do with that – they seem to have gone on the same journey as I have over the years. Although the American Pie series has always been known for its gross out sex gags, it has always been rather sweet under all of those bodily fluids. For me, I sunk into American Reunion like an old, comfortable chair.

The whole gang is back, coming back to their hometown for the 12 Year High School Reunion. Life has done different things to the gang in the 9 years since Jim and Michelle (Jason Biggs and Alyson Hannigan) got married. For their part, Jim and Michelle are still together, still in love, the parents of a two year old boy. Everything is fine, except they have fallen into the trap of many new parents – little to no sex. When he sees the little girl he used to babysit, who is now 18, Kara (Ali Cobrin), she doesn’t seem so little anymore. Oz (Chris Klein) is the most successful of the old gang – he now hosts one of those obnoxious sports talk shows, and recently participated in a Dancing with the Stars clone. He is dating a model, Mia (Katrina Bowden), but feels there is something missing – something that rekindles when he lays eyes on his high school sweetheart Heather (Mena Suvari) – although she`s in town with her boyfriend, a heart surgeon. Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is married, and although he has no kids, he is slightly bored – not because he doesn’t love his wife, but because their life seems so preordained – and he watches Real Housewives and Gossip Girl to keep her happy. When he sees Vicki (Tara Reid), thinks of what could have been. Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) has become a globetrotting adventurer. And Stifler (Seann William Scott) is a lacky at a big corporation, but still acts like he`s in high school. And Jim`s Dad (Eugene Levy) is still there with all sorts of awkward advice.

American Reunion is a rather pleasant, yet formless movie. It moves from one party to another over the course of the long weekend, as we catch up with everyone, what they are now doing, and where things have gone wrong, or right, over the years. I liked the fact that the movie doesn’t try to romanticize everything – the characters are not all in glamorous jobs that are completely fulfilling, like we see in too many movies, but for the most part, have sold out, taking the same sort of jobs that the rest of take – they may not fulfill the spirit, but they pay the bills. They are all looking forward to this weekend for a chance to cut loose, have some fun.

By now, the roles fit these characters like a glove – for many of them, they will forever be remembered for these roles, and little else. That is certainly true of Jason Biggs, who is still charmingly, amusingly awkward as Jim, who tries so hard, but ends up constantly embarrassed. Seann William Scott, who proved this year he can be quietly likable and still funny in Goon, still seems to be having fun playing an overgrown child in Stifler – an asshole to be sure, but at least a loyal one. Eugene Levy is still one of the highlights as Jim`s well-meaning dad, who still tries too hard to be hip. Alyson Hannigan is given the most of any of the female characters – but she`s still playing an idea of `the perfect wife`. The rest of the cast is fine – doing what they are supposed to do.

I`m not going to claim that American Reunion is great filmmaking, but for what it is, it’s enjoyable. There are several comedic highlights – trying to sneak a drunk Kara back into her house for example, or a Stifler party which ends in a way no one would expect or a run-in with some high school assholes. American Reunion is like cinematic comfort food – it may not be good for you, but you enjoy it nonetheless. If you liked the series up to this point, there is no reason why you won`t like this, probably last chapter.

No comments:

Post a Comment