REVIEW: American Reunion [2012]

Score: 7/10 | ★ ★ ★

Rating: R | Runtime: 113 minutes | Release Date: April 6th, 2012 (USA)
Studio: Universal Pictures
Director(s): Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg
Writer(s): Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg / Adam Herz (characters)

“I snagged a pelt or two”

Considering the American Pie saga pretty much paved the way for films like Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, it’s a fitting turn of events to see Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg bring the East Great Falls kids back for their thirteenth reunion. Wait, thirteenth? What happened to the tenth? It sounds contrived, but it’s also exactly the kind of stupid idea MILF Guy #2 (John Cho) would pull to relive the days of old and show off his glorious new ‘stache. The truth is, it wouldn’t be an American Pie flick without the usual cast of characters and their quotable little friends who tagged along during the last three entertaining slices of pie. And just as it began by placing a mirror in front of my own high school graduation, first summer out of college, and new era of married friends, it continues towards a semi-regular American Reunion with those who’ve lost touch.

Everyone has moved on to carve out a life for themselves—building careers, families, and legend along the way. Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) have a young Levenstein in tow; Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is happily married and working from home; Oz (Chris Klein) is a larger than life sports TV personality in California; Stifler (Seann William Scott) has partaken in the daily grind of corporate culture; and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) elusively traverses the world on a series of adventures. You therefore can’t blame them for wanting to kick back and leave adulthood behind for a weekend, even though they always seemed so eager to skip adolescence when they were immature teens yearning to become men. Some need a return home to remember their roots, some to forget they’ve sold out, and others to rekindle a love that has lost its once infinite well of kinkiness.

Give credit to Hurwitz and Schlossberg for staying true to the characters Adam Herz created over a decade ago. Besides wiping away everything Stifler learned about being a human in American Wedding—which is necessary to let him be the Stifmeister we know and love—the guys are an authentic evolutionary step from when we last saw them. Now thirty, the boys must watch a wealth of gorgeous high schoolers dressed like sluts from a distance due to the constraints of morality and the law. But, since no one wants to see adults working through regular adult problems, one feisty eighteen-year old needs to be included for added fun. So, Ali Corbin‘s Kara—the grown up version of the neighbor Jim used to babysit—enters the fray with a hardcore crush on the married man and a complete lack of modesty.

This high school thread allows Stifler to catch a glimpse at the 2012 version of himself in AJ (Chuck Hittinger) while also providing the copious amounts of alcohol needed to put Kevin in bed with Vicky (Tara Reid) and the rest in suburbia with an unconscious and very naked teen in their arms. For Kevin and Vicky it’s yet another carbon copy of their ‘friends or lovers’ paradox playing out exactly like it did in American Pie 2, luckily keeping them occupied and away from the rest as debauchery reigns supreme and jail time not only becomes a threat but also a reality. The zero consequence lifestyle we’re used to seeing the group engaged in can no longer exist at their age. Every action now has a very serious effect and there will be physical scuffles as well as emotional ones where love is concerned.

While Jim and Michelle’s marriage hangs in the balance of Kara’s perky breasts, new supporting players spice things up for the rest. Mena Suvari‘s Heather is back with a heart surgeon for a boyfriend in Dr. Ron (Jay Harrington) and Oz brings model Mia (Katrina Bowden) along from Cali. The two new beaus are exactly what we’d assume these former sweethearts would want on paper, but the extreme opposite of what they had. Finch, finally over Stifler’s Mom (Jennifer Coolidge)—leaving her fair game for a widowered Eugene Levy—has the now blossomed band geek Selena (Dania Ramirez) giving him a chance at age-appropriate love and Stifler stumbles upon a new flame in the uncredited Rebecca De Mornay to bring one of the franchise’s best jokes full circle.

Not to ruin any of the gross-out scenes involving defecation, cunilingus, laugh-out-loud “Dancing with the Stars” absurdity, or public S&M costuming with specifics—just know they’re all here. Hurwitz and Schlossberg definitely have a love for the series and add to its appeal with their own sensibilities. While it would have been a blast to see Kal Penn play the role given to Vik Sahay for a complete Harold & Kumar reunion—Neil Patrick Harris cameos briefly—this stylistic hybrid of both sagas is a welcome comedic pleasure. Perfectly updated, it still retains Biggs’ unfortunate string of bad luck where his genitals are concerned and the unparalleled genius rapport between he and Levy as father and son to keep it on par with the original.

Definitely cruder and obviously more risqué in its nudity, the heart almost grows in power as a result. Without any pacts to use for plot devices, the characters are given a bit of freedom to be themselves and see where their shortcomings take them. And whether you think it has a good enough story or not—like these films ever had one anyway—its enjoyable on the nostalgic level of meeting up with the old cast one more time. Letting Mr. Levenstein become one of the boys through a liquor and pot binge is simply an added bonus and watching Levy let loose as only he can a fantastic way to keep you in your seats for the end credits.

[1] (L to R) Oz (CHRIS KLEIN), Jim (JASON BIGGS), Finch (EDDIE KAYE THOMAS) and Kevin (THOMAS IAN NICHOLAS) are together again in “American Reunion”. In the comedy, all the “American Pie” characters we met a little more than a decade ago return to East Great Falls for their high-school reunion. Byline: Hopper Stone © 2012 Universal Pictures
[2] Stifler’s Mom (JENNIFER COOLIDGE) and Jim’s Dad (EUGENE LEVY) finally meet in “American Reunion”. In the comedy, all the “American Pie” characters we met a little more than a decade ago return to East Great Falls for their high-school reunion. Byline: Hopper Stone © 2012 Universal Pictures
[3] Jim (JASON BIGGS) and Michelle (ALYSON HANNIGAN) reminisce in “American Reunion”. In the comedy, all the “American Pie” characters we met a little more than a decade ago return to East Great Falls for their high-school reunion. Byline: Hopper Stone © 2012 Universal Pictures

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