American Reunion (2012)

Oh, boy. Just when you thought the American Pie franchise was dead—outside of some direct-to-video spinoffs nobody asked for but teenagers rented because of the promise of more nudity than the theatrical films would deliver—here comes American Reunion, which brings back the principle cast so that they can all go to the 13th anniversary of their high school reunion. We get to see how much they’ve matured over the years, and hopefully finally do something fresh with the core of this franchise.

Ha. Fooled you. They haven’t really changed at all, and the film is just going to run them through the same types of plots that they’ve already done for three films. I bet you’re shocked. But, then, the film probably didn’t have to do anything beyond paying all of these actors—most of whom are not particularly successful—a bunch of money to have them reprise their roles and go through gags similar to those of the earlier three films. And, as a result, that’s exactly what happens. Oh, and we also have a ton of callbacks to earlier films, because the American Pie fanbase is inexplicably large, and they want this.

Here’s the setup: Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) are now married. You know this if you watched the last film. They have a kid now, and this has made their sex life basically die. They’re hoping they’ll get a bunch of time together when they go back to their hometown for the reunion. But, of course, Jim is going to be dragged away by his friends, who haven’t seen him in years.

The friends are Oz (Chris Klein), now living with a model (Katrina Bowden), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), married to someone who loves reality TV (Charlene Amoia), Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), who goes on various adventures, and Stifler (Seann William Scott), who is exactly the same person he was before; he hasn’t grown up at all. They decide to own this weekend like they did in high school, which means meeting a whole lot of people you forgot you’d remember from earlier films, and doing stupid things which often leave Jim having to say “I can explain” or “it’s not what it looks like.” Have we, as an audience, not grown tired of this?

American Reunion is an excuse for actors who
aren’t particularly famous or popular
to cash checks by reprising the
one role that everyone knows them for.

Apparently not. We’re supposed to ooh and aww when characters like Heather (Mena Suvari), Vicky (Tara Reid), MILF Guy #2 (John Cho), or Jessica (Natasha Lyonne) show up. There are more, but I’ll leave them out since they’re bigger surprises. It’s amazing how big the American Pie canon really is. Go look at the character list for any individual film—in the main series, at least—and just think about how many speaking parts there are. It’s kind of amazing.

I mean, most of these characters are completely replaceable and forgettable, but they’re still there, and if a later film reminds you about them, it’s possible you’ll remember them. MILF Guy #2 is a staple, for example, in each of the main films. It’s usually a cameo role, but when he shows up in this one, you think back and go “oh, right, you were totally in the other ones.” I wouldn’t say joy is the emotion that I felt, but … there’s acknowledgement, I guess.

There are also a couple of newcomers who have prominent roles. Ali Cobrin shows up as Kara, someone Jim used to babysit and is celebrating her 18th birthday—you can probably see where that’s going—while Dania Ramirez plays a bartender and her character was apparently in the first movie, even though Ramirez wasn’t. She and Finch spend a lot of time together, because someone needs to be with him. Neither leaves a particularly large impression, but you can bet if a fifth film happens that they’ll be involved, somehow.

American Reunion is an excuse for actors who aren’t particularly famous or popular to cash checks by reprising the one role that everyone knows them for. It doesn’t require them to work hard or stretch as an actor, and they get to hang out with friends they made on sets like a decade ago. Fans of the franchise will probably like it, because seeing actors reprise old roles is somehow really fun. A couple of the cameos might even get applause. But it’s not funny, dramatic, or insightful. Why start being those things now?

Conclusion: American Reunion is for fans and fans only.

Recommendation: Like every other mainline American Pie sequel, it’s only worth watching if you like these characters.

  • 4/10
    Rating - 4/10

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