MovieMantz Review: 'American Reunion'

“Stale Pie”

“American Reunion”

Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Seann William Scott

Directed by Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg

If you can’t re-heat something as simple as a soufflé, then you can pretty much forget about re-heating a movie franchise like “American Pie.”

That’s the lesson to be learned with this totally unnecessary third sequel in the stale “Pie” franchise, as “American Reunion” tries too hard and fails miserably in its efforts to replicate the recipe that made 1999’s teen comedy hit so fresh and funny. While it’s nice at first to see the old gang from East Great Falls High again, those feelings are quickly dissipated after an onslaught of uninspired jokes, forced gross-out humor and one mighty big missed opportunity.

In the summer of 1999, a group of small town high school kids in Michigan were on a mission to lose their virginity before they graduated. Now, 13 years later, they reunite and realize that life was so much simpler back then. Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) have lost the passion in their marriage, while Oz (Chris Klein) is less than thrilled with his life as a sportscaster and former celebrity dance contestant. Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) has become a stay-at-home husband, but at least one thing hasn’t changed: Stifler (Seann William Scott) is just as obnoxious as ever.

Sex was and still is the name of the game here, so leave it to Jim to top his infamous pie-humping scene from the first film. But other moments are merely gross without being particularly funny, leaving one to wonder who exactly this film is for. The target audience that embraced the original “American Pie” is now 13 years older, and there’s a good chance that many younger moviegoers have never even seen the first movie (at least, not on the big screen).

That’s why co-directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (who also co-wrote the screenplay) missed the boat by failing to make a movie that would still be funny while also appealing to the older (and more mature) fans of the original film. Sure, there are numerous references to pop-cultural staples that didn’t even exist back in 1999 – like Facebook, Reality TV and, of course, “Twilight” – and a rather touching moment occurs when Jim’s Dad (Eugene Levy) fondly remembers his late wife, but moments like these are fleeting and pass without one shred of wit, irony or intelligence.

Hurwitz and Schlossberg also fail to give most of the characters enough to do to justify their presence. Finch still has the hots for Stifler’s mom, and of course Stifler himself is annoying to a fault. But Natasha Lyonne (who plays sexually-wise Jessica) and Tara Reid (who plays Kevin’s first love) have minimal storylines, while Mena Suvari (as Oz’s first girlfriend) and Shannon Elizabeth (as Jim’s first crush Nadia) amount to nothing more than glorified cameos.

Perhaps “American Reunion” would have been better-served if the old gang from East Great Falls High got back together for their 20-year reunion, when their age difference would have called for a script that required a little more depth and smarter humor. It still wouldn’t have been as tasty as that first “Pie,” but there’s a good chance that it would have been better than this.

Verdict: SKIP IT!

-- Scott Mantz

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