It was summer 1999 when four small-town Michigan boys began a quest to lose their virginity. In the years that have passed, Jim and Michelle married while Kevin and Vicky said goodbye. Oz and Heather grew apart, but Finch still longs for Stifler's mom. Now these lifelong friends have come home as adults to reminisce about -- and get inspired by -- the hormonal teens they once were.
Genres: Comedy, Sequel Running Time: 1 hour 53 minutes Release Date: April 6, 2012 MPAA Rating: R (for crude and sexual content throughout, nudity, language, brief drug use and teen drinking) Distributor: Universal Pictures
Cast And Credits
Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Seann William Scott, Tara Reid, Mena Suvari
Hayden Schlossberg, Jon Hurwitz
Craig Perry, Warren Zide, Chris Moore, Adam Herz
Believe it or not, there are teenagers in this great country who respond to intrinsically hilarious phrases like â€œband camp,â€ â€œStiflerâ€™s Momâ€ and â€œEugene Levyâ€ with blank, uncomprehending stares. The arrival of â€œAmerican Reunionâ€ is no doubt partly intended to remedy this alarming cultural deficit and also to remind former teenagers of jokes that used to make them laugh.
Eugene Levy, portraying the father to Jim (Mr. Biggs), still has wisdom to impart to his son, now married and a father himself.
Beyond that, this latest installment in the â€œAmerican Pieâ€ franchise â€" the fourth to be released in theaters and the first since â€œAmerican Wedding,â€ way back in 2003 â€" asserts a claim of paternity, or at least big-brotherhood. You know all those raunchy, regressive comedies about a bunch of dudes driven to excessive partying by their hysterical fear of women and their panicky half-awareness of their own homoerotic impulses? (If you donâ€™t, you must not see many movies.) Well, â€œAmerican Pieâ€ invented that whole thing! O.K., not really. Back when I was a teenager, there was â€œPorkyâ€™s,â€ but we can talk about that some other time.
Anyway. The high school buddies who defined, at the turn of the century, what it was to be â€œAmericanâ€ have grown older. (The original filmmakers, the screenwriter Adam Herz and the director Paul Weitz, have moved on, bequeathing the franchise to the â€œHarold & Kumarâ€ auteurs, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg.)
As their 13th reunion approaches, the five main male characters have settled into various versions of adulthood, except for Stifler (Seann William Scott), who still lives with his mom (Jennifer Coolidge) and still fits into his â€œOrgasm Donorâ€ T-shirt, in spite of having bulked up a bit en route to his 30s. Oz (Chris Klein) is a semi-celebrity with a sports talk show on basic cable, a big house in Los Angeles and a hot young girlfriend (Katrina Bowden). Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) are still around. Finch has a motorcycle, and Kevin has a wife who likes reality television. Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) are still married, though parenthood has put a damper on their famously torrid and inventive sex life.
If some of the parenthetical names in that paragraph make you nostalgic â€" or make you a little curious about what all those once-fresh young stars have been up to lately â€" here are some more. Back home in East Great Falls, Mich., for the big event, Kevin runs into his old flame Vicky (Tara Reid), and Oz runs into his first love, Heather (Mena Suvari). Ms. Suvari is notable for having appeared in two movies released in 1999 with â€œAmericanâ€ in the title. If you canâ€™t remember the other one, count yourself lucky.
More faces from the old crew show up briefly (I wonâ€™t spoil any late-breaking cameos), and Mr. Levy once again steals the show with overexplicit (but unimpeachably sensible) parental advice. Thereâ€™s a little new blood â€" or rather, new flesh â€" in the person of Ali Cobrin, playing Kara, a high school senior who throws herself at Jim, her former baby sitter. Her lust makes Jim uncomfortable, but her willingness to take off her clothes allows â€œAmerican Reunionâ€ to earn its R rating and to uphold the dreary tradition of aggressive leering followed by anxious, moralistic slut-shaming.
The sexual attitudes in this series have always been all over the map, a stew of lechery, revulsion, longing and sheer childish terror â€" and thatâ€™s just the guys. Female sexuality remains a source of confusion. Much as the boys slobber and gawk, nothing scares them more than a woman who actually seems to want to go to bed with one of them.
The â€œAmerican Pieâ€ series does, to its credit, allow some exceptions to this rule â€" Michelleâ€™s happy, unapologetic lust in particular â€" and its nastiness has always been softened by Jimâ€™s neurotic sweetness. In this movie an obnoxious youngster derisively calls him â€œAdam Sandler,â€ and the joke underscores an important contrast. Mr. Sandler characteristically turns his insecurity into aggression; heâ€™s a bully pretending to be an underdog. But Mr. Biggs has always been willing to risk embarrassment, and to display vulnerability, ambivalence and decency, as well as his backside and his privates.
Like many real-world gatherings of former high school classmates, â€œAmerican Reunionâ€ is sometimes awkward and uncomfortable, caught between nostalgia for the old days and relief that they are gone forever. It has some good moments, but it goes on too long, and not enough happens that is likely to create new memories. Remember â€œAmerican Pieâ€? If you do, this movie is redundant and sad. If you donâ€™t, itâ€™s irrelevant.