I want to state first that I am not a prude. I don’t mind a ribald joke or a filthy gag and I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve laughed long and hard at the work of Mel Brooks, the Farrelly Brothers and Will Ferrell, none of whom will ever be given awards for proper decorum where the pursuit of laughter is concerned. No, all I ask from my comedies is that they be done with a modicum of wit and a bit of imagination, qualities that have always been in short supply where the American Pie movies are concerned.
While others have chortled mightily at this wildly successful franchise, the adventures of Jim (Jason Biggs), Oz (Chris Klein), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and Stiffler (Seann William Scott) have always left me cold. Mind you, I don’t mind the subject matter, as much as the fact that every single joke in these films is as obvious and simplistic as the nose on your face.
More of the same is in store in American Reunion, a last gasp effort for the franchise that finds the series’ principals returning to their hometown for their 13th high school reunion. Obviously, math and time management were not strong suits for this class. But no matter, the fact that everyone’s back together for the weekend means that we can get right down to the masturbation jokes and awkward sexual situations that we all get into, like winding up on the front lawn in suggestive attire for the neighbors to see. Happens all the time…
Seems Jim and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), now married and with a two-year-old, have lost the spark. When he’s not looking at Internet porn and getting his privates stuck in his closed laptop, she’s taking really, really long showers (“wink, wink”). They’re out of sync, while Oz is unhappy with his life as a celebrity sportscaster and his trophy wife. He still longs for Heather (Mena Suvari) the one who got away, who is also unhappy with her current beau, which is very convenient for all concerned. Meanwhile Kevin starts to get that old tingling feeling for Vicky (Tara Reid) despite having other commitments, while Finch seems to have the world on a string, traveling from one adventure to another. And then there’s Stiffler, who has regressed since high school. He’s working as an office temp, where he’s nothing but a sexual harassment suit waiting to happen, while he tries to contend with still living with his oversexed mother (Jennifer Coolidge).
In the Pie universe every man’s a clueless lout and every woman is objectified. Case in point is the subplot where Jim has to contend with Kara (Ali Cobrin), a young girl he once babysat who now wants him to take her virginity. This comes to a head at a party at Stiffler’s where in every room an embarrassing sexual situation is being played out to its obvious and uninspired conclusion, leading to an anticlimactic comedic situation, in more ways than one.
Eugene Levy as Jim’s father and Coolidge generate some laughs, but far too few to salvage this wreck of a film, a production that lacks inspiration and plays to the lowest common denominator both in terms of humor and how relationships are portrayed. Without question, fans of the original trilogy will embrace this entry, another sign of the apocalypse if there ever was one.
Contact Chuck Koplinski at email@example.com.