As far as teen comedies go, “American Pie” is a fan favorite. Audiences found Stifler (Seann William Scott) endearing and couldn’t stop talking about Jim’s (Jason Biggs) infamous scene in the kitchen humping a pie. Now, an unlucky 13 years later, “American Reunion” transports the crew back in time to celebrate, with the whole cast reassembling for their East Great Falls High class reunion.
Unfortunately, it looks as though critics wished the characters let their reunion invitations get well acquainted with their trashcans. What had potential to restore the franchise after four straight-to-video spinoffs only left subtle feelings of nostalgia. We don’t even think Biggs’ full-frontal scene can save this one. Here’s our roundup of what the critics are saying about “American Reunion”:
“As in any reunion, the idea is to recapture a bygone feeling: that is, to echo the Pie films that came before. Jim will engage in awkward birds-and-bees chat with his father and be summarily subjected to public humiliation. Stifler will stay on the shots-and-tits hamster wheel, acting exactly like Stifler. Basic truths about sex and intimacy will be rediscovered and reinforced. Boobs will make an appearance. The character of Kevin will continue to be dead weight. After some strained ’Remember the time…’ callbacks to 13-year-old gags, ’American Reunion’ gets comfortable and funny, as [writers/directors Jon] Hurwitz and [Hayden] Schlossberg hit familiar marks from unexpected angles, while the ensemble interplay is ’routine’ in the best sense of the word.” — Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice
“The movie devotes much energy to submitting Jason Biggs’ Jim to the same kind of over-the-top humiliation he suffered in chapter one. But being pantsless in the kitchen isn’t quite as endearing for a thirty-something dad, and kicking the joke up a notch with frontal nudity — updating it for the Apatow age — just emphasizes how old this franchise is.” — John DeFore, the Hollywood Reporter
“It’s got some pretty good jokes, too. OK, maybe they aren’t that good, but they’re performed with excellent timing. Most of them focus, as they will, on the varying sexual humiliations of erotic schlemiel Jim. … [The directors] know how to get the best out of comic actor John Cho … [who] is funnier here in a smaller role than he was in the other pictures. [The directors are] also smart enough to put the great comic actor Eugene Levy to better use than the prior films, to the point of finally giving him some interaction here with ’Stifler’s mom,’ that is, Jennifer Coolidge.” — Glenn Kenny, MSN Movies
“Given that the 1999 original worked as a crude-but-endearing corrective to the likes of ’Porky’s,’ the gently bittersweet tone suffusing this labor-of-love project is neither inappropriate nor unwelcome. There are modest delights to be had in ’American Reunion,’ not least the sight of these still-winning but no longer fresh-faced actors, many of whom have been absent from the big-screen for lengthy stretches, gamely returning for duty. From moment to moment, it’s easy enough to tune out the forgettable plot turns and simply groove on the soundtrack’s numerous ’90s soft-rock touchstones, like the Verve Pipe’s ’The Freshmen’ and [Semisonic’s] ’Closing Time,’ which prove immediately transporting.” — Justin Chang, Variety
The Final Word
“After three films, ’Reunion’ should have graduated up to bigger and better things.” — Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News
Check out everything we’ve got on “American Reunion.”
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