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American Reunion - Film Review

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by Matt Elliot Taylor (subscribe)
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." - John Lennon
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A forerunner in the genre of raunchy teen comedies for Generation-Y, the American Pie name has forever been tainted by sickeningly bad teen comedies that merely use the name for marketing purposes, but this week comes the alleged triumphant return to the roots of rude with American Reunion.

Set over a decade after the events of American Pie [1999], Jim (Jason Biggs) is now married to high school band geek Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) and they have a young son. With an opening scene that almost holds a mirror up to the opening scene of the first film, it quickly becomes apparent what kind of story is about to unfold. We are systematically introduced to the other four friends - Oz (Chris Klein), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and of course Stifler (Seann William Scott) - all of which lead various but ultimately unfulfilling careers. A high school reunion has been planned and so they all take it as an opportunity to escape from the dullness of adulthood and attempt to recapture the spirit of their high school years, much like the film tries to recapture the spirit of the first one.

This supposed final hurrah for the American Pie franchise is a reunion not only for the five friends, but all the supporting characters as well that help to add some versatility to the otherwise one-note humour. Eugene Levy returns as Jim's Dad, and Jennifer Coolidge as Stifler's Mum; both comfortably sliding back into the roles they created thirteen years ago. As a matter of fact, just about every actor seems to take on the persona of their characters with great ease with the exception of Alyson Hannigan who is frankly quite ordinary and visibly uncomfortable in recapturing the ditzy naivety of Michelle. Outside the reunion itself, the plot doesn't really go anywhere because it doesn't really have anywhere else to go, but amongst the raunchy and sometimes off-putting humour, there are some touching moments; the scenes between Jim and his Dad are definite highlights, giving the opportunity for it to grow up a little, especially now that the characters have.

After thirteen years, Jim (Jason Biggs) still hasn't learnt that this will only end in tears.

The film is very hit-and-miss in terms of not only its gags, but its references to the original film; some quite clever, others irritatingly obvious. Following more-or-less the exact same format as the first one, it all feels a bit too convenient how the plot comes together, but that's not what the fans are looking for; they are looking for sex jokes, profanity and nudity. Thankfully, the film addresses each of these criteria, but there are some touching moments and nice little twists throughout, and it ties up nicely (but conveniently) for the predictable ending.

The American Pie Gang attend the reunion they won't forget.

Written and directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg – whose claim to fame is the Harold & Kumar series – this is ultimately an exercise in fandom, reclaiming the 'American Pie' label and returning to its roots with the original cast for the first time since 2003 with the disappointing American Pie: The Wedding. However, two of the film's stars – Jason Biggs and Seann William Scott – were executive producers on this latest project, demonstrating a desire to re-establish the franchise with the new generation.

A return to a pioneering franchise in the way of teen sex-comedies, American Reunion is a play-by-play re-establishment of the original with some nice twists. Although it's predictable, relying on reminiscent disasters of the guys' teenage years to propel the plot, it is a decent effort in rekindling the franchise. Gen-Y fans of the first film will certainly get some great laughs out of it, but that's about it.

STAR RATING


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Why? Some great laughs for American Pie fans.
When: April 5th (Aus)
Where: Your local cinema
Cost: Check your local cinema for details
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