Friday, April 6, 2012

American Reunion ★

I Wish There Was A Better Film To See All Of These Characters Come Back

Written by Matt Giles
Edited by Erin Accomando

American Pie was the first raunchy comedy I saw when I was younger. I was in middle school at the time and you could say that it was my first preview, if you will, of certain things I may encounter when entering high school. Of course movies are fictitious and have a tendency to over dramatize certain situations. Despite these facts, there was always something relatable to each of the characters in the film. There was that feeling that no matter what looms around the corner the friends you have in high school will be your friends forever. I don’t think it’s too far out there to say that all of us at one point or another have felt that way and for a time truly believe it. American Pie 2 saw all of our favorite characters coming home after their first year of college and trying to make sense of the world and accepting change. With both of these films – and if it is not yet clear I am a big fan of the first two – there was a compelling reason to care about these characters. The second one ended on a happy enough note that we could assume the events in American Wedding would happen. But also, American Wedding did not need to exist. There was no need for a third film that had only a fraction of the characters from the second film. (As a side note, I’m not counting the four other straight-to-DVD sequels that have nothing to do with these films.)

Now, thirteen years after the original release of American Pie we get American Reunion. This film succeeds where Wedding didn’t, in bringing back everyone, whether the characters are well served or not. What I mean by that is a handful of our favorites, Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth), Jessica (Natasha Lyonne) and Chuck Sherman (Chris Owens) make cameos, which leaves us wishing that the filmmakers actually brought them back for a reason other than just to see them again.

There’s a lot that feels empty in Reunion because much of the time is spent longing for the glory that was the high school days. If 2011 told us anything about film it was that nostalgia could be great to see on screen if used properly (Midnight in Paris and The Artist spring to mind). Unfortunately American Reunion thinks that a movie that concentrates on how boring each of the character’s lives are is the right approach. It isn’t.

Jim and Michelle (Jason Biggs and Alyson Hannigan) now have a two-year-old son, preventing them from having sexual lives. Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is now married and considers himself a housewife; Oz (Chris Klein, absent from Wedding, another pitfall of that film) is a sportscaster living with a crazy, much younger party girl named Mia (Katrina Bowden); and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) has apparently been traveling the world for the past few years. There’s the smallest element of charm (at least for me) in seeing all of these characters again. There was a part of me that did wonder what ever became of all of them.
I’m being harsh, yes, because I expected more from a film that was bringing everyone back. American Pie introduced us to them and got us emotionally invested in where they would end up. American Pie 2 showed us that these characters were growing up and finding their way in the world, which for me was quite interesting and different from the first film. With American Wedding and American Reunion, I find myself not really caring anymore. As much as I thought I wanted to find out where they all ended up, this film cemented the fact that I should not have been so curious. 

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