American Reunion (2012)

“Sex” is everything in the American Pie world, that much is clear, and American Reunion doesn’t much change that. As expected, the subject is treated with as little maturity, realism or distinction as possible. The majority of the women are sexually damaged tarts and the men are simply doing what comes naturally, whether venturing down various avenues of sexual harassment or pining for the one that got away. This is unsurprisingly really thin soup, especially in the humour department, and the typical frat boy crap gets old in a hurry.

The 2012 entry in the too-long series gathers the Class of ’99 for a half-assed reunion of sorts that really is just an excuse to draw a bunch of random plot strands and characters together in one place. About 13 years have passed since American Pie graced screens with dessert-related penetration and other mildly comedic occurrences. The ground was ripe for an innovative examination of the same issues, but nothing’s changed much and the plot is as haphazard and peculiar as ever.

The film opens with Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) going through some sex-related issues in their marriage. Their young son is apparently cramping their style, so they each turn to masturbation to scratch the itch. This creates some difficulty for the couple as they head off to an unofficial reunion with the old gang. Jim and Michelle arrive at the home of Jim’s dad (Eugene Levy) and things pick up where they left off all those years ago.

Oz (Chris Klein) is a celebrity sports announcer with a history on a dance show. He is dating Mia (Katrina Bowden), an attractive party girl, but he’s apparently never really forgotten about Heather (Mena Suvari). When they get reacquainted, sparks fly. There’s Stifler (Seann William Scott) and his sexual proclivities and there’s Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and his larger-than-life legend. Finally, there’s Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), whose complicated feelings for Vicky (Tara Reid) bubble to the surface despite his marriage.

Summarizing the plot of American Reunion is an impossible task because directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg keep moving things around and changing directions. There’s really no sense of purpose to the movie at all, other than to juggle itself from one “funny” scene to the next, and the emotional counterpoints come off weak and forced.

The relationship between Jim and Michelle seems ripe with potential, as there’s an awful lot of humour to go over in the realm of being married with children. Unfortunately, American Reunion only seems interested in the cheap laughs and the larger plot develops into a cliché about saving one’s marriage and putting the fire back in the marital bed.

Stifler is the same annoying character from the rest of the series. His sexual harassment isn’t funny and his oafishness, misogyny and obnoxiousness doesn’t exactly provide much by way of a good time. The character has always been presented as somewhat lovable, but there’s very little by way of redeeming qualities to discuss.

The relationship between Heather and Oz seems to come out of nowhere, especially with the passage of time, and the actors don’t do anything to elevate the material. And Vicky and Kevin’s situation is simply boring; it feels tacked on and purposeless, delivered as it is by two bland actors phoning in their performances.

American Reunion had potential, no mistake about it, but the final results are not unlike a fumbling teenager in the backseat thrusting away bluntly without a clue as to what he’s doing and without a mind as to how to do it. The only difference is that the teenager finishes in less than a minute and this thing drags on for nearly two pointless, meatless hours.

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