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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: July 30: American Reunion

Monday

July 30: American Reunion

"Jim, Michelle, Stifler, and their friends reunite in East Great Falls, Michigan for their high school reunion."
Directed by: Hayden Schlossberg & Jon Hurwitz, Rated: R, 113 minutes

It's really hard mentioning good, raunchy comedies without mentioning the American Pie franchise. Sure, the series is far from perfect and has many things we'd like to forget (all of the direct-to-DVD "spin-offs"), but at it's core the franchise has a terrific group of characters that we've grown to care about. American Reunion is a great ending for these characters, and while it's nice to see what the whole gang is up to, it's even nicer seeing their stories come full circle and have a more solid ending then American Wedding. It's an almost given that when you see a bunch of people growing up on screen in front of you, some part of you has to care, at least in the slightest. We saw Jim (Jason Biggs) "make a woman" out of an apple pie, and "lose his cool" a little too early in American Pie, feeling completely embarrassed with him. In American Pie 2 we saw Jim super glue "himself to himself", as well as witnessing Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), Stiffler (Sean William Scott), and Jim get rather close after coming out of a closet together. Throughout the first two films, we also were able to see Jim and Michelle's (Alyson Hannigan) young love blossoming into a fest of awkwardness filled to the brim with heart, which culminated in American Wedding, where the two made everything official. While the this trilogy proved to be quite the R-rated fest of sexual frustration (and release), it also showed us a great friendship between five boy and the women in their lives that made them men. We also got Jim's Dad (Eugene Levy). 

I honestly can say that Jims' Dad may be one of the best characters in a comedy in the history of movies. And it's all because of the pitch-perfect Eugene Levy

American Reunion takes place 13 years after the events of American Pie, the same number of years that have passed since its release in 1999. The gang, all dispersed around the country, come together again in East Great Falls for a high school reunion. Jim is still married to Michelle and even have a kid together. Oz (Chris Klein) is a sportscasting, reality-TV star who's married to a nymphomaniac, Kevin's (Thomas Ian Nicholas) a "housewife", in love with his actual wife but far from happy, and Finch appears to be his usual, cultured-world touring connoisseur of nice things. Then of course, there is Stifler, the horn-dog, foul-mouthed, forever frat boy who hasn't changed a bit. As all of the guys come together for the reunion, they're remembered of their pasts as well as the reality of where their lives are now. While there's nothing profound in their reflections, the gang clearly know they aren't as young or as hormone-filled as they used to be. They're just guys struggling with guy problems, going day to day in lives that aren't all too exhilarating but have very little they can honestly complain about. Even then, the comedy is solid, even if some of the jokes are recycled from the previous films. However, none of it feels too forced, as enough time has passed since the earlier films that American Reunion feels more like a nice ribbon on the package that wraps everything together. 


The best part of American Reunion is simple. Seeing all of these actors (and I mean EVERYONE), back in the roles they last played in 2003, is so much fun you can't help but sit back and enjoy what's going on. It's a nostalgic reminder of the past that honestly feels like a reunion, not a remake or a reboot or any other attempt at juicing the franchise for one more dollar. Sure, the film lacks and solid plot, but it's genuinely nice to see what everyone has been up to and it's even better seeing them together again. Even if you're not a fan, you can't deny the effect the franchise has had on movies (energizing a post 1980s series of raunchy teen comedies) and you also can't deny that some of these characters are pretty damn likable. Even Stifler, who you'd hate to have as a friend in real life, is so over-the-top ridiculous you can't help but laugh your ass off. He's a real life cartoon character that's thrown in the mix of and keeps everything interesting. 

Some people never change (and quite frankly, don't need to). 

I would highly recommend American Reunion. Yes, some of the jokes may fly completely over your head if you hadn't seen the previous films, but it's still really funny on its own. I usually shy away from comedies, as most of the time they really, really suck, but I have always had a fondness for the American Pie movies. Sure, it's probably because they were the first taste I had of a R-rated, sex driven film, but looking back I see that it was more than just the promise of seeing naked women. The films have heart and it's what makes you care about the characters in the first place. A bunch of raunchy jokes and situations right after another would mean very little without a great cast and seeing everyone return to the roles that made them famous does a lot for the film. 

The Good:
just enough jokes referencing the older films to bring everything back together in a rather fitting way
The Better:
the crude and rude Stifler, showing us that you don't necessarily have to change and that having a fun time is as easy as taking a shot or chugging a beer, as long as you got your friends with you (or Jim's Dad)
The Best:
seeing everyone back for a real reunion and still having as much fun (if not even more fun) than you did 13 years ago

Overall: 7.5/10

Trailer:

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