13 Years Later, and Jim’s Still Not Getting Any

5 Apr

Are you nostalgic for the first American Pie movie?

Is anyone?

Anyone other than the original cast, that is.

If you are, then American Reunion is a movie for you.

It plays like a cinematic version of a K-Tel Records “Who Loves the ’90s?” album, complete with the same basic story of a bunch of horny guys in East Great Falls, Mich., who just want to get laid.

Of course, we’re talking Reunion here, so the action all takes place 13 years after that first film. And if a 13-year reunion seems random to you, well … you’re right.

But who cares? After all, if you’ve been to a reunion, then you know what to expect: Initial feelings of anticipation, stress, awkwardness, and/or regret, that eventually lead to good vibes for everyone. That describes the characters’ reunion and the movie itself.

Catching up with the gang

Nine years have passed since Jim and Michelle (Jason Biggs and Alyson Hannigan) got married, and now they have a child — and a beleaguered marriage. Rather than satisfying each other, they’re satisfying themselves … barely.

Meanwhile, Kevin (Thomas Ian Nichols) is also married, but has been reduced to a househusband; Oz (Chris Klein) is a second-rate TV sportscaster and former contestant on a Dancing with the Stars knockoff, who lives in Los Angeles with his model girlfriend (Katrina Bowden, from 30 Rock); and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) has been off traveling the world. And none of them is truly happy.

Oh, and Stifler (Seann William Scott)? He’s basically the same inappropriate guy as before, only now he’s a corporate stooge, temping at a tech company.

Back in East Great Falls, the gang meet up with Kevin and Oz’s high school sweethearts, Vicky and Heather (Tara Reid and Mena Suvari) — not to mention all kinds of other characters we haven’t seen since the first movie (and some new folks too) — and, well, old feelings get stirred up again.

Oh, and Jim, ever the victim, gets reacquainted with the now-18-year-old cutie next door, who wants her former babysitter (that would be Jim) to be her “first.”

Yes, 13 years have passed since that first movie, but really, not much has changed.

Better than expected

And that’s not really a bad thing. American Reunion plays as if the second and third movies almost didn’t exist (Jim and Michelle’s wedding notwithstanding). In addition to appearances by nearly every notable cast member from the original, Reunion makes plenty of references to the first film, but never mentions anything that came after.

I mean, not that the second or third films were anything worth remembering, but still, that first American Pie movie wasn’t exactly Animal House. Jim Levenstein is hardly an iconic character, and sorry Seann, but neither is Stifler.

But of the three prior movies in the series, the first was always the best. And that’s a big reason why this movie is actually a more enjoyable affair than it should be.

That’s right, just like that first American Pie movie, despite its raunch (and there’s a LOT of it, folks) this one has a sweet center that’s still endearing. It’s kind of fun to see the gang again, and that’s because unlike some other recent reunion movies (ahem, The Muppets), the writers and editors keep the characters and the tone pretty much as we remember them.

And while we’re talking about those good ole days, the soundtrack for American Reunion includes such late-’90s favorites as Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy,” the Verve Pipe’s “The Freshmen,” and yes, James’ “Laid.” Heck, even Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” is referred to as “classic rock” by one of the cast’s high school students. Classic rock? No. But good songs nevertheless.

And on a somewhat related note, Tara Reid looks amazing. Where has she been? (Other than not gambling at Mohegan Sun, of course.) I hope we see more of her again soon.

So here’s the odd thing about this movie …

I’m not sure who the target audience for American Reunion is. I mean, these days, films like this one are directed toward the younger audiences. But American Reunion is basically a nostalgia trip for those of us who remember the late ’90s.

Chances are good that many of the folks in my age bracket and older have outgrown Stifler’s antics (as they should), and folks younger than us don’t even remember the first film, or actors like Tara Reid or Mena Suvari.

Then again, films about horny teenagers never get old, do they?

American Reunion is no comedy classic. But it’s a decent time, it has its moments of humor, and series veterans like Eugene Levy (who gives some priceless fatherly advice about using your thumb strategically) don’t disappoint.

So, yeah. Every now and then, it’s nice to check in with “friends” and get all nostalgic for good times gone by. I’m giving American Reunion a B–.

Till next time.

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3 Responses to “13 Years Later, and Jim’s Still Not Getting Any”

  1. Stephani April 5, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    Please tell me you didn’t pay to see that. It seems unwatchable and I couldn’t take all the build up on E! It was ludicrous.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Come Back When You’re Ready « Martin's Musings - September 21, 2012

    […] other films, like American Reunion, that have dramatized high school reunions and played them for laughs, this one plays it mostly […]

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