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American Reunion

April 14, 2012

Nostalgia is a heck of a drug. I still have fond memories of a 17-year-old me watching the first American Pie while working at the local AMC movie theater. The characters were new and the pie wasn’t defiled yet. Blink-182 popped up occasionally and I had the movie poster on my wall. The second American Pie came out and Jason Biggs made me laugh with his impromptu trombone performance. American Wedding was fun and rocked the sweet Matt Nathansan cover song Laid.

The driving force behind American Reunion is nostalgia. The creators hoped people would devour this offering. The movie made $22 million the opening weekend but critics haven’t been kind 44% on Rotten Tomatoes. The pie hasn’t aged too well. It has become as predictable as Stifler stealing the show and Jason Biggs humping something. This botched humping will lead to another conversation with his Dad where they talk about uncomfortable stuff involving thumbs and sticky pages.

The jokes in the three prior films worked because the characters were punk teenagers, college students and recent post grads. Nowadays the jokes stem from their unhappiness with adulthood. They can no longer blame youthful exuberance. When teenagers act like teenagers you can roll with it (Wooderson is cool though). However, when a bunch of dudes do the same things over and over for 13 years it becomes blah.

This film reminded me of the David Cross show The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret. Todd is a pathological liar whom has always been close to failure and insanity. The reason the show works is because you realize how incredibly unlikable he is without Cross realizing it.

The reason I say nostalgia is a heck of a drug is because the characters in American Reunion do nothing but lie, cheat and fart and you almost let them get away with it. The reason this film exists is because people like these characters a lot. They survived the years and the writers thought they had a story to tell. The problem is that this movie has likable characters acting like Todd Margaret. Their plights are fostered by their arrested development and unwillingness to say “no.”

The freshest moments involve new developments like Thomas Ian Nicholas’s beard and Chris Klein’s dancing. My favorite moments involve seeing Stifler in the real world. Stifler is a force of nature who will be an eternal man-child whose powers will be used for good and evil.

The reason this film won’t be remembered as fondly as the others is because it sticks to the same recipe. If you are a diehard fan your sweet and boob teeth will be satisfied. However, If you dig too deep into the movie you will realize it is empty calories.

If you like the three American Pie movies watch this film. It doesn’t bring anything new to the table but it does provide a familar option to sink your teeth in to.

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