Avoid 'American Reunion' 

Fourth installment in raunch franchise is dull, unfunny.

click to enlarge 'AMERICAN REUNION': Jason Biggs and Alyson Hannigan star image
  • 'AMERICAN REUNION': Jason Biggs and Alyson Hannigan star.

A few years back "American Pie" became a surprise hit for its R-rated combination of seemingly straight-talk teen-age raunch (that dude screwed a pie!) and sudsy teen-age sexual confusion (losing your virginity's a drag when feelings get involved). It struck a nerve and spun an $11 million budget into a worldwide $235 million behemoth. That begat an "American Pie 2" and an "American Wedding" in the next four years, but it took another nine whole years for "American Reunion" to come into the world. Among its scant redeeming properties are that it ought, by in any rational scenario, to put this limping franchise out of its misery for good, unless a series of "American Funeral" sequels happens along to thin the herd.

The original lineup of white bread doofi are back in this iteration, with a twist you didn't see coming: Everyone's old! Jim (Jason Biggs, looking like he's been working out his neck) and wife Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) have fallen into the trappings of parenthood, namely, a toddler. (The rugrat figures into a ribald opening scene that reveals just how sexually frustrated the new parents are.) They're never getting any, and in a twist on the original "American" trying-to-score formula, the spouses spend the film looking for the chance for a conjugal visit. Some of the other fellows are likewise settled. Oz (Chris Klein, the poor man's Keanu) is a semi-famous sportscaster who is dating a nutty model but still has a soft spot for his high-school flame Heather (Mena Suvari). Kevin (the cloyingly tame Thomas Ian Nicholas) has a girlfriend who makes him watch the Real Housewives of something, while the mysterious, globetrotting Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) has his eye on a late-blooming barmaid. Together they're an utterly forgettable bro! foursome, a nowhere-America middle-class friend clique so true to life that they'll bore you just as thoroughly as any given four shirt-tucking, cubicle-dwelling schmucks who may be seated next to you in the theater.

The exception is Seann William Scott as Stifler, who is still painfully but unapologetically stuck in his high-school years. He claims a favorite "Twilight" book in order to impress far younger women; his idea of buying a round of drinks is a tray of shots; he makes the case to Jim that because teen-agers these days know so much about sex, Jim would actually be bringing the newest techniques to the marital boudoir if he were to bed a nubile young thing. It's as though the "American Reunion" writers (there are three, including Jon Hurwitz, who also shares a directing credit with Hayden Schlossberg, the director of the "Harold & Kumar" films) saved up every decent line, every funny scene, for Stifler. With a lineup of six Stiflers, this could've been a true romp. Instead, his existence accentuates how tepid the rest of the cast really is. Aside from a can't-be-unseen encounter with a saucepan lid, every memorable moment belongs to Stifler or to Jim's dad (Eugene Levy, back for more). Worse than merely dumb or lazy, "American Reunion" is too often both, plus flat dull, to boot.

Among its lesser crimes, "American Reunion" does its best to dredge up nostalgia for an era — the late '90s — that rightly was the only casualty of Y2K. When the boys walk into the reunion dance floor, which looks like nothing more than a prom populated by actors in their mid-30s, the 1999 Lit song "My Own Worst Enemy" and its distinct hook begins playing. The audience once thought itself in on this joke: Earlier in the movie, when Jim is resisting the advances of the just-legal girl next door he used to babysit, "Wannabe," by the Spice Girls, comes on her car stereo, and she exclaims how much she loves classic rock. The lyrics here are part of the joke: "If you wanna be my lover ..." describes the scene in literal terms. So when Lit implores, "Please tell me / Please tellll meeee whyyyyyyy," as the camera pans across the room before the climactic finale, you may wonder whether the filmmakers are sending out a thinly coded cry for help.


Film Details

American Reunion
Rated R · 113 min. · 2012
Official Site: www.americanreunionmovie.com
Director: Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg
Writer: Adam Herz and Jon Hurwitz
Producer: Craig Perry, Warren Zide, Chris Moore and Adam Her
Cast: Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Seann William Scott, Mena Suvari, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Jennifer Coolidge and Eugene Levy


Now Playing

Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for American Reunion


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Sam Eifling

  • Shallow 'Resurgence'

    'Independence Day' sequel is a hangdog mess.
    • Jun 30, 2016
  • Matchmaking dystopia

    In 'The Lobster,' being single is criminal.
    • Jun 16, 2016
  • 'Popstar': Idiocy done brilliantly

    "Popstar: Never Stop Not Stopping" flopped last weekend, earning about a tenth of what a quartet of Ninja Turtles hauled in, and that fact is enough to have you weeping for America.
    • Jun 9, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Gay diamonds

    Scenes from Rodeo in the Rock.
    • May 7, 2015
  • Not much to 'Love'

    In Judd Apatow's new Netflix original series.
    • Feb 25, 2016

Most Shared

  • Nursing home bribery case details suspect judicial fund-raising

    Plaintiffs' lawyers made their case today to continue to trial with the civil suit over then-Judge Mike Maggio's reduction of a $5.2 million jury verdict in a nursing home negligence case to $1 million, a reduction he said he made in return for campaign contributions from the nursing home's owner.
  • Defense for Suhl asks judge to dismiss bribery indictment, citing Supreme Court decision in McDonnell case

    Attorneys for the businessman argue that his cash payments to a former deputy director of DHS, Steven Jones, did not constitute corruption. They say prosecutors cannot prove the money was given in exchange for any particular "official act" from Jones.
  • When America was great

    Donald Trump is right. There was a time when America was great and it didn't pussyfoot around to avoid offending people who thought they were victimized by discrimination. It was, let's see, the period after World War II, when everyone prospered and America was kicking butts, at home and abroad, and Arkansas's leaders were at the center of it.
  • Arkansas Heirloom Tomatoes at Edwards Food Giant for the Fourth of July weekend

    We are receiving 200-pounds of large heirloom tomatoes Friday morning from Times publisher and farmer Alan Leveritt. We have dark, brick red Carbons, Goldies (large, high acid golden tomatoes) and Annis Noire, a delicious French heirloom that is green with red marbling when ripe.
  • Resistance grows nationally to freeway expansions

    The U.S. Public Interest Research Group has issued a news release about freeway expansion with relevance in Little Rock. It's about wasting money to widen freeways that only create more congestion. Sound familiar?

Latest in Movie Reviews

Event Calendar

« »


  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Most Viewed

  • Walter was the worst

    But Steely Dan's Donald Fagen, the Danettes and Steve Winwood wow at Verizon Arena.
  • A Rowdy Faith plays The Joint

    Also, the Highberry Music Festival on Mulberry Mountain, Curtis Sullivan and Kyung-Eun Na at Wildwood, Amasa Hines at Stickyz, The Dangerous Idiots at Vino's and more.
  • Feels right

    David Pryor's legacy as a genial, bright Arkansas statesman is beyond reproach. His service as executive (governor from 1975 to 1979) was marked by progressiveness, and he championed tax fairness and the rights of the elderly through his impassioned, lengthy tenure in Congress.
  • Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre continues

    Also, Sean Fresh and the Nasty Fresh Crew in Conway.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Walter was the worst

    • I saw the Dan last summer in Austin. The audience was in awe & fans…

    • on June 30, 2016
  • Re: Walter was the worst

    • I agree with mostly everything mentioned in everyones comments, but I will say this, I…

    • on June 30, 2016
  • Re: Walter was the worst

    • so easy to be a critic ... so hard to be a sucessful musician ...

    • on June 30, 2016

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation