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'American Reunion': Critics not nostalgic for reheated 'Pie'

April 6, 2012 |  4:53 pm

American Reunion
Thirteen years after the bawdy high-school comedy "American Pie," nearly the whole gang has gotten back together to relive the good old days in the sequel "American Reunion," including horndog Jim (Jason Biggs), sensitive jock Oz (Chris Klein) and party animal Stifler (Seann William Scott). For most movie critics, though, this reunion is safe to skip.

Tribune film critic Michael Phillips calls the latest film "a rather tired sequel" with an entirely predictable story line. ("The plot you know, even if you don't," Phillips promises.) Although "American Reunion" occasionally "rouses itself to deliver," as in a post-credits scene featuring Eugene Levy (a.k.a. Jim's Dad) and Jennifer Coolidge (Stifler's Mom), "the movie's cinematography and editing are pure hack work, drab and jumpy and jammed with full-face close-ups. Not good for comedy."

In the Washington Post, Michael O'Sullivan writes that "American Reunion" is "an aggressively crass — and not especially funny — trip down memory lane, an attempt to recapture the sweetly ribald magic of the earlier film." Phillips adds, "As anyone who's ever attended a class reunion can tell you, it almost never works." O'Sullivan concedes that "it's a mild pleasure" to see the familiar characters back together, but overall the film is characterized by "least-common-denominator humor" that is at times "downright inappropriate."

The New York Times' A.O. Scott also compares the film to an actual class reunion, and not very favorably: "Like many real-world gatherings of former high school classmates, 'American Reunion' is sometimes awkward and uncomfortable, caught between nostalgia for the old days and relief that they are gone forever. It has some good moments, but it goes on too long, and not enough happens that is likely to create new memories."

USA Today's Claudia Puig writes that the latest installment of the "American Pie" franchise has "sunk to new lowbrow depths" and that its antics can be "cringe-inducing." Puig continues: "A couple of situations generate laughs, but what's mostly missing is the youthful spark that brought a sense of silly fun to the first movie."

The Boston Globe's Wesley Morris laments that writer-directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (of the "Harold & Kumar" movies) "don’t know how to make this new plot funny or infectious," and Hearst movie critic Amy Biancolli says "nothing happens and no one seems to be having any fun." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times calls "American Reunion" "a film that seems to have been constructed by typing in cross-references to the earlier films."

We could go on. But presumably, as with the "American Pie" films themselves, you already know what to expect by now.


'American Reunion' stars talk pies, sex, kids and rehab

'American Reunion' premiere: The gang's all here, one more time

'American Reunion': How Universal revived its oldest teen franchise

— Oliver Gettell

Photo: Eugene Levy and Jason Biggs in "American Reunion." Credit: Hopper Stone/Universal Pictures

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