Tuesday, April 10, 2012

American Reunion has Enough Nostalgia on its Side to Make me Care About the Characters Again, but Falls Flat

American Reunion (1 1/2 Stars out of 5 Stars)

Directed by Jon Hurwitzand and Hayden Schlossberg (Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo BayWritten by Adam Herz, Jon Hurwitzand and Hayden Schlossberg 
Starring: Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Sean Williams Scott (and the rest of the gang)

Exactly 30 years ago in 1982 the raunchy high school film Porky's was released.  Porky's is not that  different film from the original American Pie.  The film was set in 1954 and is about high school boys trying to lose their virginity, the only extra element is the titular establishment Porky's.  Porky's is a sleazy night club where the boys make an attempt to lose their virginity, but they are humiliated, and the vow revenge on the owner and his friends.

While the characters change, films have used this story of young men attempting to lose their virginity throughout the years.  Looking back at the cast of Porky's the only person who has made a name for themself is Kim Cattrall who played one of minor supporting characters, Honeywell.  American Reunion attempts to never let the audience forget the past, and uses a millennial tactic of nostalgia to bring back every significant character from the first film.

Thirteen years ago the gang from the American Pie film was in their senior year of high working on losing their virginity, except for the Stiffmeister (Sean William Scottt).  Now thirteen years later each of the characters has moved on and attempted to grow up. Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) are still married, but now they have a child.  Oz (Chris Klein) is a sportscaster and a famous reality star. Kevin (Thomas Ian Nichols) is a stay at home husband and architect-although his story about his life is not explored as fully as it should.  Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) is supposedly a world traveler with thinly veiled stories.  Then there is good ole Stiffler who is a temp and still has not grown up and lives as though he is still in high school.

Even the supporting ladies from the first film returned.  Tara Reid with her unfortunate plastic surgery and even worse acting returned to play Vicki Kevin's first love.  Oz's choir girlfriend from the first two films Heather (Mena Suvari) was still the same; she returned to play Oz's moral compass.  Jim's dad Eugene Levy and Stiffler's mom payed Jennifer Coolidge returned to raise hell with their children.  How could you do a reunion without the MILF guys, Jessica, the Sherminator, and the hot lacrosse team.  How can any of this go wrong?

While this films has pretty funny moments the creative team focused too much on the nostalgic factor thinking that just getting every back into one film would make the movie good.  The story is silly, and yes all of the first three had that, but silly tends to be less funny when the characters are not the same people.  The point of the film could and was in a sense that some people change and some people do not after they leave high school.  Throughout Reunion the writers do a decent job getting this message out their, I think they forgot something, these jokes have been done before and just aren't adding anything to the story.

The first film ended on a poignant moment, even the second and third films made you feel as though these guys were becoming adults and figuring things out.  So thirteen years later all of that changes, and they have what 30 Rock calls Revertigo?  They go back to being teenagers.  I did not expect a Citizen Kane type storyline, but I expected that the laughs combined with the nostalgia of the 90s would make this film worthy of a follow-up, and unfortunately masturbation and shit jokes just make this film incredibly less funny.

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