American Reunion (2012)

American Reunion (2012) – Back in the summer of 1999, I was 14 years old and between my freshman and sophomore years of high school. Needless to say, fucking was on my mind. I decided it was mission to get laid that summer… (mission failed, by the way). My family didn’t have the internet at the time (yes this was back when some people just didn’t have the internet) and since I wasn’t getting anywhere in the in-person department, my real only opportunity to see breasts came at the Cineplex. Then American Pie came out. There were breasts (oh, Shannon Elizabeth…). More than that, it was about horny teenagers trying to get laid (more successfully than I, at the time). More than that though, it actually had a level of depth to it. Not philosophical dissertations on the interconnectedness of all living things or anything like that, but it had real characters and interactions between people that felt vaguely plausible. A couple sequels, American Pie 2 and American Wedding, came out and after that the series was relegated to churning out a bunch of direct-to-disc spin-offs featuring next to none of the original cast. Now that original cast is back for the first time in about nine years.

This film starts with the odd conceit that the high school is having a 13-year class reunion (apparently because the reunion planning committee screwed up for three years). Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) are still married and now have a young son. They seem to have hit a bit of a dry spell, romantically speaking. Oz (Chris Klein) is a sportscaster, best known for appearing on a Dancing with the Stars type show, dating a fame-obsessed model (30 Rock’s Katrina Bowden). Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is a married stay-at-home dad who feels mildly emasculated. Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) has been out and about exploring parts unknown. Stiffler (Seann William Scott) is a temp constantly put down by his asshole boss (Vik Sahay). Anyway, they all converge upon their hometown hoping to reconnect with their youth and happier times. Jim and Michelle stay with Jim’s Dad (Eugene Levy) who, now a widower, is ready to get back into the dating scene. Awkwardness ensues. The above-listed actors are the main returning characters but most others from the first film (excluding Casey Affleck) swing by briefly. Vicky (Tara Reid), Heather (Mena Suvari), Jessica (Natasha Lyonne), the Sherminator (Chris Owen), Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth), Stiffler’s Mom (Jennifer Coolidge) and the MILF guys (John Cho and Justin Isfeld) all put in cameo appearances. (Characters from the sequels, like Michelle’s family, are missing.) The movie also puts a fair amount of focus on new characters. There’s Kara (Ali Cobrin), the girl Jim used to babysit who just turned 18 and is responsible for the film’s nudity. Also new is Dania Ramirez as Selena, a formerly fat band geek who is now… well, Dania Ramirez.

Okay, on a personal level I have to point out how weird it is seeing characters who are basically my age (about three years older) complaining about getting old… I’m still young, god dammit! As for laughs, they were there. As with the first film in the series, though, there was actually substantive character development to back it up. Again, nothing profound, but you care about the characters and what happens to them (especially if you’ve basically grown up watching these movies). A week and a half later, a lot of the plot points of this film are kind of hazy in my memory (that’s why I usually try to write these things right away), but I did enjoy myself. This isn’t a comedy classic. It isn’t breaking new ground. It is fun. If you’ve enjoyed the first three movies, you’ll enjoy this one so check it out.

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