Film Review: American Reunion
Reviewed by Ian Forbes, SoberingConclusion
I didn’t go to my 13-year high school reunion (if there even was one). Watching American Reunion, that was probably the right move.
Now sure, it’s likely fair to say there is a decent percentage of movie audiences whose lives have mirrored Jim, Kevin, Oz, Finch, Stifler and the gang (if you don’t know them by name at this point, there’s no point in starting with this one). But just because you were able to bring all of the major characters back, and most of the supporting ones, it doesn’t mean the film is a slam dunk.
The first movie took a look at their high school experience. The second dealt with the changes that happen to those friendships once college gets underway. And the third saw Jim and Michelle get married, wrapping up the maturation process. The series then devolved into terrible direct-to-DVD cashgrabs and here we are now at a reunion. This idea would have worked fine … if there was something new to say.
Each of the 4 guys are still stuck in the past, dealing with the same problems. Hearing them moan and bitch about everything they’ve moaned and bitched about in 3 previous movies is a chore (no one but Eugene Levy had much to do with the DVD dreck). And if this is supposed to be about them growing up, that’s what the third movie was about … I know I wasn’t the only person who sat through that mediocre pile of celluloid and am surprised the screenwriters didn’t realize this.
Now, there are some funny bits which help alleviate all of the prattle. Though to no great surprise, most of the comedy comes from Stifler’s politically incorrect antics, buoyed by Levy’s interactions with Stifler’s Mom and John Cho’s take on his originally ancillary character (he helped sustain “MILF” in the common vernacular). The “main” characters just drag the pace down, and Jim’s ability to get caught in awkward situations involving his wang again and again is almost a necessary evil considering how the franchise started but it feels more desperate than organic.
For guys (and some of the ladies), there are a few bright spots in terms of eye candy. Katrina Bowden and Ali Cobrin are stunning and inject some fresh energy into the mix. If it weren’t for them, this movie could have been in need of a new title: American Flatlining. However, they are there … and there are a few funny moments that break up the monotony … honestly, determining if this is worth recommending is a bit of a toss-up.
If you’re a huge fan and got excited by the notion of another movie in the franchise, I suppose I wouldn’t blame you for checking this out. But if you’re more like me, and found little enjoyment past the original film, American Reunion can wait until it hits your preferred streaming service/movie network. It should be seen unedited (if for nothing else than for Cobrin’s lack of clothing), but there’s nothing so hilarious you couldn’t go another 13 years before seeing these characters again, if at all.
American Reunion hits theaters on April 6, 2012 and is rated R for crude and sexual content throughout, nudity, language, brief drug use and teen drinking.