Kernel Rating: 3
MPAA Rating: R Length: 113 minutes
Age appropriate for: 17+. Raunch in bulk: simulated sexual shenanigans, male and female nudity, profanity, and explicit dialogue. Rampant alcohol and drug use, some of it by underage partygoers. Potty humor and humorous pottying. “American Reunion” is no more appropriate for today’s children than “American Pie” was, 13 years ago, for some of today’s parents.
“American Reunion” is an utterly predictable exercise, a run-in with familiar characters that have made superficial changes but remain the same people and still get in the same kinds of trouble. In other words, yeah, a high school reunion.
By Jared Peterson
In 1999, “American Pie” helped establish the tradition that every generation gets its own teenage sex comedy. In 2012, “American Reunion” proves that every generation also gets a nostalgic rehash of its teenage sex comedy.
More than a decade after their coordinated assault on their own virginity, the boys from East Great Falls have moved on—though some more than others. Sweet-natured jock Oz (Chris Klein) is a famous sportscaster and celebrity dance show castoff, but still feels the tug of the one who got away, Heather (Mena Suvari), now a doctor. Sensitive Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is married with cable, a happy househusband whose alone-time with his beautiful wife consists mainly of TiVoed reality shows. Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) screeches into town on a motorcycle with a leather jacket and tales of globetrotting adventure. And Stifler (Seann William Scott) is the same old Stifler: desperately clinging to adolescence, he’s ready for a party but little else.
Our hapless hero Jim (the ageless Jason Biggs) has settled down with his band-camp sexpot Michelle (“How I Met Your Mother’s” Allyson Hannigan). They have a young son now, the care of whom is at least partially responsible for a massive drain on their sex life. Despite some candid and cringe-inducing advice from Jim’s dad (Eugene Levy) on how to spice things up, the couple decides to make the reunion weekend about rekindling the fire and retuning the flute.
Writer-directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schossberg, the team in charge of Harold and Kumar’s extraordinary rendition to Guantanamo Bay, stage many of the same sexual misadventures as in the previous films, with adult twists. Instead of his dad discovering Jim pleasuring himself to porn, it’s his toddler. Instead of getting unexpected attention from a hot foreign exchange student, he gets uncomfortable attention from a hot, barely legal neighbor (Ali Cobrin). Thrown in are the occasional anxieties about lost youth and missed opportunities. As is often the case pre-reunion, here have gathered a group of mostly happy adults reminded of how much better they thought being happy would feel.
The “American Pie” characters were always thinly drawn, and so a lot depends on individual performances. Eddie Kaye Thomas continues to have great delivery, while Tara Reid, appearing for an inconsequential subplot, still sounds like she chugged a quart of Nyquil before stepping onscreen. As the aggressively immature Stifler, Seann William Scott hits the most comic targets, mainly because his character has the most ammo and the highest rate of fire. He also strikes the closest thing to a sad moment, when the reality of his stunted development finally registers on his Cheshire-cat face. The comedic champ of the movie, though, is John Cho, who had a small but culturally defining role in the first film, having introduced the world to the term MILF (an acronym for “Mom I’d Like to have Friendly, consensual relations of a sexual nature with”—or something like that). Cho’s a minor player again, but he makes every moment count.
Way back when, moviegoers were drawn to “American Pie’s” brand of sexual line-crossing. Some of those folks, with kids of their own with children now, will find it either quaint or downright depressing how much deeper behind the lines teen behavior has moved. Still, if you decide to attend this “Reunion”, approach it as you would any other: lower your expectations, remember the best and forget the rest. And definitely get a sitter.