Theatrical Review: AMERICAN REUNION
It's been thirteen years since the original AMERICAN PIE, a surprise hit that was two parts crass / one part class - a formula that's repeated as the entire cast returns in AMERICAN REUNION. The film has two things going for it right off the bat: A fully intact cast with great chemistry and a successful marketing campaign that made everyone feel like they've missed these characters even though, just like the friends you had in High School, you probably haven't really given them much thought since the last time you saw them.
For the most part, REUNION is a fair success even though it overstays its welcome. It's a passable comedy that is mainly worth the price of admission because of the few legitimate laughs and the gratuitous amount of nudity on display. When the punchline gets delivered and then overstays its welcome, when the nudity ceases to shock and just seems excessive, AMERICAN REUNION winds up feeling stale with too long a running time.
That doesn't mean it still wasn't great to see Stifler being a total dick or laugh at Jim being a complete buffoon.
As a matter of fact, Stifler's return is more than welcome. Seann William Scott acts like he's having the time of his life revisiting the character - a lacrosse jock that's a cross between George W. Bush in college and Peter Pan - and his antics and one-liners are reason alone to come back to the franchise. REUNION even injects a little bit of heart into Stifler, who still just wants to live life like there's no tomorrow.
Jason Biggs as Jim still finds himself in compromising situations that either threaten to ruin his marriage to Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) or permanently scar his two-year old child. The jokes are re-worked so Jim can find himself in new but all too familiar predicaments that start off funny but end up running too long more often than not. A sequence involving his hot eighteen-year old neighbor, Kara (Ali Cobrin), winds up playing like a failed pilot of a Showtime comedy, taking way too much time to conclude. Still, Biggs is so charming in the role that you almost forgive the fluff of the script.
Overall, that's the problem with AMERICAN REUNION. It tries too hard and should probably be about a half hour shorter. This feels more like the Extended Cut that was too raunchy to show in theaters. In reality, it's not too raunchy at all, it just doesn't know when to quit. Although most of the setups don't pay off fully, REUNION does have the balls to show a lot of nudity and isn't afraid to flaunt the young girls in front of the audience as the male cast drool over them. The original AMERICAN PIE was compared to PORKY'S for a good reason: It had the same innocent fascination with the female body that guys that age really have and it wasn't afraid to show a little skin.
Overall, the entire cast returning ends up feeling like a gimmick with certain characters popping up for cliche cameos that are over before you even recognize who they are. A lot of these actors haven't really been in the public eye lately, and it seems like they probably would have jumped at the opportunity to play larger roles. The main crew of guys really aren't all that interesting, and the film would have been more compelling if the more memorable characters from the original were fleshed out. Instead, subplots with Oz (Chris Klein) and Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) feel a little forced at times.
Honestly, I'd rather see a spinoff where Stifler and Jessica (Natasha Lyonne) star as two cops who just can't seem to see eye to eye as they solve a mysterious crime in the big city.
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