The Same Old “American Reunion”

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Remember the excitement you felt when you found your older brother’s copy of “American Pie” on VHS, and you knew you weren’t supposed to watch it, but you did anyway? Remember the amazement you felt when your 10-year-old eyes first saw real life boobs, or the comedy when your childhood hero, Stifler, tries and fails to “get with” girls? Remember all those great nostalgic feelings? Yeah. None of them happen in the “American Reunion.”

Sure, the whole cast returns, although that shouldn’t be that big of a surprise. The only one of them with a real career is Alyson Hannigan, and “How I Met Your Mother” isn’t filming right now anyway. Like all the other “Pie” movies, there is a new director. This time, Hayden Schlossberg, known for writing and directing the “Harold and Kumar” movies, lends his creative hand to try and salvage an already dead franchise.

Writer and creator of the “American Pie” tetralogy Jon Hurwitz basically cuts and pastes his last three movies to create this one. For some people, that’s a great thing. All the jokes that they loved are back, with none of the hassle of having to learn new lines to quote from. For others like myself, the movie just seems like a rehash of all the childish jokes we grew out of by the time we hit 13.

It’s not so much that the movie is bad, because it isn’t. It’s a decent movie, but it’s just that there is nothing new that Hurwitz (or, for that matter, any of the cast) has to offer. Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Seann William Scott and the others are all the same characters from the previous movies, except instead of worrying about how they’re going to convince girls to sleep with them, they’re worried about how they’re not going to cheat on their wives. Apparently, in the last 12 years, there hasn’t been much growth.

Some parts are legitimately funny, like when Eugene Levy, who plays Jim’s dad, gets belligerently drunk and decides to smoke marijuana. Other parts seem sincere, and actually succeed in creating at least a little bit of emotional conflict, which is much needed after 10 minutes of Jim’s drunk neighbor being a naked skankadoodledoo.

Sadly, the makers of “Reunion” really miss the mark with the target audience. The people they want to see this movie are the kids that grew up with “American Pie.” Unfortunately, these kids are now grown-ups, and the repetitive penis jokes and gay slurs aren’t funny anymore. (Unless you’re in a fraternity. If that’s the case, disregard everything I’m saying. Actually, you don’t read newspapers, so never mind.) If Hurwitz had written a story that was less focused on how many crude sex jokes he could get in and instead focused on actual character development, then perhaps this movie would have been better.

I completely understand that crude sex jokes are what make the franchise what it is, but when they are the same jokes, word for word, from previous movies, it isn’t funny. It’s cheap.

While the movie does feature authentic ’90s music, which makes you feel like you’re a kid again, it lacks the real essence of what “American Pie” is about: risqué-ness. The first movie was the teen movie that started it all. It was original and dangerous. Reused material with a plot that was predictable and boring is anything but exciting and funny. So while the movie wasn’t terrible, I was expecting a lot more. This “Pie” is kind of a letdown.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5