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Movie Review: American Reunion

April 6, 2012

American Reunion – A Universal Pictures’ Release

http://www.americanreunionmovie.com/

Release Date: April 6th, 2012

Rated 14A for coarse language, sexual content, substance abuse and nudity

Running time: 113 minutes

Jon Hurwitz (dir.)

Hayden Schlossberg (dir.)

Jon Hurwitz (screenplay)

Hayden Schlossberg (screenplay)

Based on characters created by Adam Herz

Lyle Workman (music)

Jason Biggs as Jim Levenstein

Alyson Hannigan as Michelle

Chris Klein as Oz

Thomas Ian Nicholas as Kevin

Tara Reid as Vicky

Seann William Scott as Steve Stifler

Mena Suvari as Heather

Eddie Kaye Thomas as Finch

Jennifer Coolidge as Stifler’s Mom

Eugene Levy as Jim’s Dad

Dania Ramirez as Selena

Ali Cobrin as Kara

©Universal Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.

Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Jim (Jason Biggs), Steven Stifler (Seann William Scott), Oz (Chris Klein) and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) in American Reunion.

Our reviews below:

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American Reunion DVD Review By John C.

**1/2 (out of 4)

As a huge fan of the first three films in the American Pie series, for me there was a lot riding on a reunion of the entire cast from the iconic 1999 original.  There is an inherent joy in seeing all of these characters back together again in American Reunion and this fourth installment does have some funny and even genuinely sweet scenes, although it also feels more generic than the original trilogy.  But this is to be expected since it has been thirteen years since the first film and nearly ten since American Wedding took things to a nice conclusion, so seeing all of these guys back together was never going to be as exciting as it was the first few times around.

The marriage between Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) has gotten stale, with a 2-year-old son who walks in on both of them “self completing” in the uncomfortable opening scene.  Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is now married to a good looking nobody who barely registers as a character, and sadly no longer involved with his first love, Vicky (Tara Reid).  Oz (Chris Klein) is a sports host living in Los Angeles with the sexually charged Mia (Katrina Bowden), but there’s a good chance that he’ll hook back up with his sweet high school girlfriend, Heather (Mena Suvari).  The sophisticated Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) now has all sorts of stories of wild adventures that he’s apparently had over the years, and is falling for a bartender named Selena (Dania Ramirez).

But Steven Stifler (Seann William Scott) is still the same old Stifmeister, complete with the hilariously inappropriate profanity that has given us some great quotes over the years.  The guys are all getting back together for a reunion at East Great Falls and things have changed.  Jim’s Dad (Eugene Levy) has gotten lonely over the years since the death of his wife, while Stifler’s Mom (Jennifer Coolidge) is still waiting for the perfect guy to show up at one of her son’s parties.  These two provide some of the film’s best scenes.  We get appearances from practically every character who was in the first film, and just like a real life reunion, some of the glorified cameos are more affecting than others.  But there is still plenty of crude humour along the way and lots of nudity courtesy of the 18-year-old Kara (Ali Cobrin), who has a crush on her old babysitter Jim.

What the iconic first American Pie film did was that it captured a moment.  A moment when every sexual encounter with yourself, someone else or even a baked good was remembered with equal importance, and conversations with friends seemed to last for hours.  We loved these characters as socially awkward young adults trying desperately to find their place in the world, between those perfect moments of having sex and being with friends.  The two official sequels, American Pie 2 and American Wedding, struck a good balance of hilarity and heart as they made us genuinely enjoy spending even more time with these characters.  Like all great teen films, American Pie captured a moment and seeing where these characters ultimately end up in their lives is both a somewhat rewarding and occasionally disappointing experience.

Directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, fans of the original Adam Herz trilogy might have mixed feelings on this one, aside from a genuine burst of nostalgia.  Some will love every second of the reunion, but others will likely have the same reaction that I ultimately did as I left the theatre.  There is an inherent joy in seeing all of these beloved characters back on the big screen and there are some genuinely funny and even sweet moments, but this fourth slice of pie doesn’t taste as fresh as the first three.  See American Reunion if you love the characters as much as I do, but just don’t expect them to all be quite the same as you remembered.

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American Reunion DVD Review By Erin V.  

*** (out of 4)

In 1999, American Pie was released and is now a quintessential classic.  After two sequels (American Pie 2 – 2001, and American Wedding – 2003), both great films as well, the franchise stayed a trilogy for almost ten years.  Now, with the full cast returning – now all in their early 30’s – we get American Reunion, and just as it sounds, it is about a high school reunion where all of our favourite characters will be getting together again in East Great Falls for a weekend of partying and reminiscing.

When the film opens, we first find that Jim and Michelle are still married, now have a young son, and are trying to juggle time for themselves.  Kevin is living with someone, Oz is a sports newscaster, Finch’s life is a mystery, and Stifler – while working at a desk job – is still the same old hilarious Stifmiester.

It is amazing how much the original cast still look very similar to how they did way back when they did the last films.  They’re a little older, but are instantly recognizable.  I personally found this to be a funny comedy, and it worked as a reunion film as well.  To me at least, I found that it kept the tone of the original, even if it isn’t as inventive as the first films.  After all, what was groundbreaking ten-odd years ago has been done so much raunchier now.  That being said, I actually liked how the film didn’t try to push the envelope any further than what the franchise already was, because with the characters being older, it was believable that their actions and motivations would be different.  Besides Stifler who is still, well, Stifler, they are all a little more mature, but still fun to spend an hour and a half with.

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American Reunion DVD Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

The gang is back in this final slice of the American Pie saga.  Jim (Jason Biggs) is now a dad, so he and his wife Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) don’t have enough “together” time.  Oz (Chris Klein) is now a celebrity who got voted off a dance reality show.  Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) is now apparently a motorcycling world traveller, Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) has settled down and married and Stifler (Seann William Scott) is, well, still Stifler.

A lot of other things have also changed.  Kara (Ali Cobrin), the girl Jim used to babysit, has grown up and turns out to be beautiful.  Can Jim avoid (much to the opposition of Stifler) her seductive efforts to trick him into cheating?  And what will happen when Jim’s Dad (Eugene Levy), widowed for three years, meets Stifler’s Mom (Jennifer Coolidge)?

American Reunion, while slow to begin, really picks up as it approaches the high school reunion of the class of 1999.  All of the characters from American Pie, including the minor ones, are back.  While not as good as the first three films, American Reunion is a lot of fun. Jim’s Dad is still just as funny and Stifler is the same loveable goofball.  The others have changed but are sill as sincere and believable as they were in the original.  So cut yourself another piece of pie and enjoy American Reunion.

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American Reunion DVD Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

Reunions can be a funny thing.  On the one hand, it’s fun to see how different people have handled the passage of years.  On the other hand, sometimes it’s better to just remember people as they were.  In American Reunion, all the original gang from the American Pie trilogy are reunited for a weekend of nostalgia and fun, some of it naughty, some of it nice.

Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) are still married and have a two year old son.  Jim’s  Dad (Eugene Levy) is quietly mourning the loss of of his wife.  Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is a stay-at-home husband and Oz (Chris Klein) is a sportscaster in California.  Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) comes across as cool as ever and Steven Stifler (Seann William Scott) has a corporate job but still enjoys his arrested development adolescent side.  Stifler’s Mom (Jennifer Coolidge) is still, well, Stifler’s Mom.

I loved all of the original American Pie movies and American Reunion left me feeling nostalgic for the old gang.  The characters have all aged believably but now in the thirtyish range are not quite as funny as before.  Stifler is the only one who maintains his youthful disinhibition.

There are some truly funny moments in American Reunion, though mostly in the second half of the movie.  The kind of raunchiness and nudity from the originals is present here, though no baked goods are harmed this time around.  What’s different in American Reunion are the quieter, sweeter moments.  Some of the scenes between Jim and his dad are rather touching.  For me, Eugene Levy is the high point of this movie.  Make sure to stay through the closing credits for a really funny Jim’s Dad moment.

All in all, this is one reunion worth attending.  With a good mix of “it’s so nice to see them all again” and some fresh material, American Reunion is a fun night out.  Just don’t expect to feel the same way you did the first time around with American Pie.  But that’s just how it is with reunions.

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American Reunion DVD Review By Tony

**1/2 (out of 4)

For fans of the original American Pie films, American Reunion offers a nice chance to revisit the characters as they return home for their 1999 high school reunion. Everyone is back, older and generally a bit wiser. Except Stifler (Seann William Scott), of course. Though the opening scenes are a bit awkward as the cast is reintroduced, once the parties start, laughs are back in abundance, with a few touching scenes thrown in, particularly between Jim (Jason Biggs) and his dad (Eugene Levy).

Writer/directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg have done a reasonably good job taking the characters developed by Adam Herz to the next stage in their lives. Admittedly, American Reunion is a guilty pleasure that shouldn’t disappoint the fans.

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Consensus: Although some fans of the still superior American Pie trilogy might be disappointed that things have changed since the iconic 1999 original, many will still enjoy seeing all of these beloved characters back on the big screen in the easily entertaining and sometimes sweet American Reunion.  **3/4 (Out of 4)

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