Thursday, April 26, 2012

American Reunion (2012)

Directed by John Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg

The crew from East Great Falls is back together in full force for their high school reunion - as you can probably tell from the film's title. For the first time since American Pie 2, the entire cast is back for more hijinks that people their age should not be getting involved with. You can take the kids out of high school, but you can't take the high school out of the kids and so years after the American Wedding, we have another installment full of gags that are sure to please.

A few days prior to the East Great Falls high school reunion, Jim (Jason Biggs), Oz (Chris Klein), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nichols), and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) decide to meet up a few days in advance for their own private get together. Unfortunately for them, but not for the viewers, Stifler (Seann William Scott) catches the boys out at the local bar and they have no choice but to allow him to tag along.

Times have changed for the core group since they last saw each other. Jim is now a dad, but the sexual playground in his marriage to Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) has become dormant since they have become parents and hope that their time at the reunion will help spice things up. Oz has become a famous TV sports talk host and mini-celebrity who has a beautiful model girlfriend Kia (the stunning Katrina Bowden) yet lacks the true companionship he has always desired since high school. The always sensitive Kevin is happily married to his sweet wife (Charlene Amoia), who willingly allows him to spend time with the "boys". Finch has become a man on the level of the dude from the Dos Equis commercials, with the world as his oyster. Then there is Stifler, who is a disgruntled assistant to a douchey boss at a major Chicago conglomerate, but he still is the same old "Stifler" and acts like the man in charge.

The group begins to relive memories of their old high school days as more familiar faces come into the fold, such as Vicky (Tara Reid) and Heather (Mena Suvari). While Heather is in a relationship with an egotistical cardiologist, the attraction between her and Oz are stronger than ever, creating conflict with their current significant others. Vicky and Kevin still seem to have a bond, even though Kevin is more than content in his marriage and they separated a long time ago. Stifler still treats women as common trash and has not matured in the least since the last time we saw the character on screen. Finch might not be the person he has been telling everyone he has become, even his new love interest (Dania Ramirez). Jim is being sought after by the (now) 18-year old cutie Kara (Ali Cobrin), who he used to babysit, and his dad (Eugene Levy) is attempting to get back in the dating scene after being lonely since his wife passed. Add their side stories together then mix them up, and you have the usual type of crazy situations the guys and gals experienced in the original.

While the main cast is back, there are other key original characters who check in. John Cho has an extended role as the MILF, Guy while Natasha Lyonne and Shannon Elizabeth return in brief cameos as Jessica and Nadia. Of course, no true reunion would be complete without the inclusion of Stifler's mom (Jennifer Coolidge). Then, there are the hilarious celebrity cameos which include Neil Patrick Harris, Rebecca De Mornay and Chad Johnson/Ochocinco.

The film starts off with major belly-busting laughs, but it starts to taper off as the film continues. This is due to the extended length that kept the second installment from staying up with the original and the unneeded dramatics that occur later on as well. While it does not make the film horrible by any means, it is simply too long and could have been shorter and just as effective. 

This Reunion should only be attended by fans of the original, specifically those who were in their high school/college years in the 90's. The gross out jokes, gags and even the soundtrack are derived from that decade, so the impact will possibly be lost on childhood products of other generations. A better sequel than the second installment and slightly above par of Wedding, it is definitely worth checking out and a proper send-off for the franchise. At least this American Pie universe acts as if all of those awful straight-to-video bore fests never existed. 

3 out of 5 Creeper Santas





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