American Reunion (2012)

It’s been thirteen years since they graduated high school, and Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle Levenstein (Alyson Hannigan) are now sharing their recently sexless marriage with a young son. Invited back to East Great Falls for a “Class of 1999” high school reunion, they reunite with D-list celebrity Chris “Oz” Ostreicher (Chris Klein), house-husbanding architect Kevin Myers (Thomas Ian Nicholas) and wanton globe-trotter Paul Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) for the first time since the wedding. When Steve Stifler (Seann William Scott) happens across their pre-reunion catch-up, however, a quiet drink between friends quickly deteriorates into a wild weekend of prime regression.

A lot has changed in the last thirteen years: Facebook has taken over the internet, mobile phones have superseded landlines and the Spice Girls have become “classic rock”. While American Reunion milks such generational differences for much of its humour, it nevertheless wastes no time in returning our assorted heroes to their pie humping, flute debasing, shit munching adolescence. As Heather (Mena Suvari) is quick to point out, they’ve all changed in some respects, but in others remain the same horny teenagers that we all know and love. Except Stifler, obviously, who is of course a massive dick.

While undoubtedly nostalgic in the very best sense, this sometimes rampant immaturity is also the film’s biggest flaw. Many of the key plot points, and in particular one that sees Jim in a compromising situation with his nubile neighbour Kara (Ali Cobrin), feel needlessly contrived and horribly repetitive. We’ve been here before – at least three times already – and an overwhelming sense of deja vu is difficult to ignore, even if it is slightly easier to forgive. Jim has another masturbation mishap, Michelle experiments with another appliance, and both Eugene Levy and Jennifer Coolidge pick up almost precisely where they left off as Jim’s Day and Stifler’s Mum respectively (although Levy is given a few touching scenes to mourn his wife’s death), ready to embarrass their offspring anew.

But what’s a few contrivances between old friends? Sure, Kara’s relationship with idiot boyfriend A.J. (Chuck Hittinger) might seem like unnecessary padding, Tara Reid might ruin perfectly good conversations with her throaty declarations and there might well be more call backs and self-references than new jokes, but the comedy is so good natured, the characters so well drawn and the finale so eye-wateringly satisfying that you find yourself smiling regardless. For any one using Reunion as their point of entry to the franchise, after all, the issue of repetition ceases to be a problem, and they can enjoy the film for exactly what it’s meant to be: a gross out comedy that not only has a heart, but one that is in precisely the right place. Stuck on firmly with decade-old jizz.

While the ensemble’s suggestion that they reconvene more often might be a little ahead of itself, this – like Scream 4 – is a welcome return to a group of beloved characters rather than a cynical cash-in on a universally recognisable brand (see the straight-to-DVD sequels for just that). Thankfully, there seems to be plenty of pie to go around.

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

2 Responses to American Reunion (2012)

  1. Pingback: FILM NEWS: Summer of Cinema tease the months and movies to come « popcornaddict

  2. Pingback: May 2012 – It appears to be some sort of cake « popcornaddict

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