Wednesday, April 18, 2012
There's nothing but corporate greed front and center as the journey of Jim, Oz, Kevin, Finch and the ever gregarious Stifler continues and continues. While American Pie never exactly felt fresh, it did embody a slightly infectious innocence. Now it just plays flat and more than a little beleaguered. American Reunion begins, silly and naughty to form, with an encounter with Jim and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), two horny toads who found each other and happiness, now finding themselves sexually disconnected upon the arrival of their first child-- a natural progression both take for the end of the world. An invitation of their high school reunion feels like the cure and once confronted with the old gang, the film starts to jell into it's more comfortable, if monotonous self. It seems that like Jim, everyone else isn't all that jazzed about their current lifestyle either, all yearning to go back and party like its 1999.
Oz (a weathered Chris Klein) is a hotshot sports emcee currently famous for a Dancing With the Stars-like reality show, comes along with his trophy girlfriend (30 Rock's Katrina Bowden) who melts away when his high school sweetheart Heather (Mena Suvari) returns. Kevin (a bearded Thomas Ian Nicholas) is a married stay at home dad who similarly melts when his high school love Vicky (Tara Reid) returns-- there's a theme here. Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) is still weird, and Stifler (Seann William Scott) is still Stifler, a relic from high school who wants to keep the party (circa 1999) going on and on, until confronted with the sad realization that he might just be the saddest, most pathetic of them all. He's all unconscious id, but refreshingly Scott still plays him to the most excruciating hilt. There's a certain sweetness to the reunion, but the stall jokes flat line because the ensemble almost doesn't appear in on them anymore, and all they naughty, but sweet innuendo can't stop a cast that appears bored, and even slightly embarrassed coming back to the series that for the most part made them.
There's a semblance of a plot, mostly involving Jim's struggle to keep his stuff together while fighting the advances of the barely legal (and frequently topless) neighbor he used to babysit. There's even a few slightly welcome members to the reunion, notably Jennifer Coolidge (as Stifler's mom) and Eugene Levy (as Jim's dad) who have the best sight gag in the feature (albeit at the very end, as credits are rolling), but there's far too many elongated stretches of schlock gags that feel are as uncomfortably dated as the cast is tired. C-