Friday, April 6, 2012

‘American Reunion’ should have waited for another 10 years

I’m a big fan of movies that offend people.

In fact, the more offensive the better. Essentially, I love infantile humor.

I love ‘South Park,’ ‘Family Guy,’ ‘Real Time With Bill Maher’ and ‘Robot Chicken’ on the television front and ‘Knocked Up,’ ‘Horrible Bosses’ and ‘In Bruges’ on the movie front.

Yes, I have eclectic taste.

The original ‘American Pie’ filled my raunchy humor quota back when it came out in 1999. I don’t know anyone that didn’t laugh at that movie – even when a certain pie was molested. It was one of those teenage movies that somehow seemed to speak to a generation – even though I wasn’t a teenager at the time.

When the second movie came out in 2001, it wasn’t quite as good as the first but it was still hilariously funny. In fact, the performances of certain members of the cast – Jason Biggs, Sean William Scott, Alyson Hannigan – actually improved. So, as a whole, the movie still holds up.

Where the franchise started running into problems was ‘American Wedding.’ They cut out Chris Klein’s Oz character in favor of giving Scott’s hilarious Stiffler more air time. Now, don’t get me wrong, everyone loves the Stiffmeister – but he’s still better in small doses.

After ‘American Wedding,’ the original cast went their separate ways and the franchise dissolved into trite party movies – with the only stabilizing character being Eugene Levy’s.

When I heard about ‘American Reunion’ I was a little surprised. It seemed like an odd time to try and revive the franchise.

Then I thought about it some more. Given the popularity of movies like ‘The Hangover’ and ‘Horrible Bosses’ – raunchy comedy was making a comeback. It seemed like a perfect time to bring the original cast of ‘American Pie’ together.

I was terribly mistaken.

First of all, most of the cast has faded into obscurity – with Hannigan and Scott being the two notable exceptions, and even Scott has had difficulties snagging roles of late. While Biggs will probably be able to carve out a niche as a character actor, the rest of the cast is way past their prime. This, of course, does not include John Cho who has made a name for himself outside of this franchise – but still shows up for some minor fun.

Party girl Tara Reid looks 40, Chris Klein has a receding hairline, Thomas Ian Nicholas looks like the Unabomber, Mena Suvari has been relegated to straight to DVD zombie schlock, and Eddie Kaye Thomas has basically fallen off the map since that sitcom of his bombed a few years back. These actors don’t make a quality movie anymore. Plus, while Stiffler was funny as a teenager, he's merely annoying as an adult. Even Scott can't save the character in this installation.

Then there’s the script. What was funny about ‘American Pie’ were the hilarious situations these characters – namely Biggs’ Jim – got himself into. There’s nothing funny about ‘American Reunion.’ In factor, the humor feels more dated than Stiffler’s mom.

At the heart of the ‘American Pie’ franchise – at least the original three movies – was a good heart. Sure there were high school hijinks and capers, but these were basically good kids who wanted to love and be loved.

As adults, the chemistry has completely failed. I found myself not only not rooting for these characters, but openly rooting against them. Well, I still rooted for Jim and Michelle – but just barely.

The comedy that seemed so fresh in 1999 has now gone stale – and even the zombies in Suvari's films won't be able to digest it.

For those – like myself – who have a certain nostalgia factor for the original ‘American Pie,’ it’s probably a good idea to skip this sequel. It might do more harm to your memories than good.

What do you think? What did you think of ‘American Reunion’?


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