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American Reunion


What’s my age again? For the American Reunion boys, a trip home for their high school reunion makes them momentarily forget they, in fact, did graduate and move on to bigger and better things (somewhat), but this time in an only moderately funny manner.

Grade:

In one nostalgic scene after another (and a great soundtrack of 90s hits), Jim (Jason Biggs), Oz (Chris Klein), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and even Stifler (Sean William Scott) find themselves back in East Great Falls for a weekend of the same old shenanigans with a hint of adult shame. They’re not without their problems though. Jim and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) are stuck in a sexual rut due to their two-year-old. Oz is a famous sports analyst and “Celebrity Dance-off” contestant with a trophy girlfriend (Katrina Bowden), but is unhappy with whom he’s become. Kevin has a gorgeous wife, big home and works as an architect from home, but, you know, misses Vicky (Tara Reid), or something. Finch, well you find out about him in his own way. And Stifler is stuck in a terrible temp job still trying to live as he did in high school.

Much of Reunion felt forced. Many of the scenes were made simply in homage to the original (ignoring the second and third) and what made the series such a success. As in the original, Jim is the main with Stifler as the second in command, so to speak. Unfortunately in Reunion, the writers decided to give more time to Oz for almost no reason at all. His sappy, “I should love my life, but can’t” routine came into focus and sours the mood set by the rest of the cast. The inclusion of Heather (Mena Suvari) and her boyfriend is a relatively bland plotline considering it moves from A to B almost right away, but still lasts until the end.

I try to give the writers the benefit of the doubt since they had to include every original character and their stories, but there were too many “reminder” scenes. By this I mean, plenty of scenes would finish and immediately be followed by a line or an image to explain the previous scene’s significance. The dialog digresses into a sort of obvious set of hints to the audience (mostly from Kevin).

Reunion also utilizes fame achieved after the originals. Jim’s Dad (Eugene Levy) gets his share of screen time since his wife had passed and he is forced by Jim to put himself back in the dating world, but at least his newfound story makes sense to the plot – and is hilarious. Cue MILF Guy #2 (John Cho) who gets almost as many lines as Reid due to his much better career after the original. His inclusion really makes no sense for the film other than the aforementioned obligation to include as much as possible from the original.

Similar to Toy Story 3, American Reunion incorporates the characters and original audience into the story in real-time. Unlike TS3, Reunion’s jokes are of similar, or lesser, comedic value while hinting at the maturity that comes with being in your early thirties (minimal in this case). If you were a fan of the first then American Reunion does well to bring back all the memories and laughter, but much of the amusement seems to be residual. You’ll laugh regardless. You just may feel underwhelmed at the end.

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  1. I think the real selling point of this flick was that it was just great to have the whole gang back again even if they don’t really do anything new here that they already didn’t do in the first film. Still, I had a fun time and definitely laughed more than I thought I would. Good review.

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