Aaahhh, the nostalgia. Sometimes we connect with characters and movies for no apparent reason. That was the case in the late 1990’s with the American Pie movies. They were filled with crude language and images that were shocking. They were also loaded with touching, familiar characters and situations. Those images were as funny as they were shocking and these movies clicked with teens of the day and with no-so-teens like me. I’ve always thought those movies channeled the vulgar ghost of John Hughes (even though Hughes still lived when the first 3 films were made).
American Reunion brought nothing new to the big screen, yet it didn’t disappoint. I think many of us wanted to know if Jim and Michelle were still together. We wanted to know if Stifler was still a childish jerk. We wanted to know if Finch still had a thing for Stifler’s mom. We all wanted to see Jim’s dad again. It didn’t really matter what the situation would be. We just wanted to see our old favorites again. Reunion came through.
The movie was filled with the expected crazy, lewd hijinks that were the calling card of the original trilogy. I wondered if I would still find this stuff as funny as I did more than a decade ago. I don’t know what it says about me, but I did. And judging by the loud laughter from the audience in the theater, so did everyone else. It didn’t even matter that we could see some of the scenes unfolding before the movie actually got there. The characters, especially Jim, take innocent situations and have them fall apart to their most base aspects in quick fashion.
This film, just as in the originals, went deeper than the cheap, lewd and crude funny business. All of these pictures could have easily been nothing more than boorish and course yet they didn’t. There was real depth to the characters and that is why we connected with them. We liked them, and behind the vulgarity, there were real issues of insecurity and the pathos of modern teenagers. American Reunion followed the same pattern, revealing familiar uncertainties about marriage and parenthood. Sometimes relationships can become comfortable but also lack the excitement that sparked it in the first place. We as adults often look back at the decisions of our life and question our decisions. This film puts our beloved characters in the same kind of situations and reveals the growth we have all experienced in life.
I don’t want to suggest that this movie is golden statuette worthy. Of course it isn’t. It follows the original formula too much. It is funny and crude but it is also touching and familiar. If you liked the first 3 movies then you are going to enjoy seeing these characters ten years later. If you didn’t like the originals, don’t bother with this one either. The acting is mediocre at best, except for maybe Jason Biggs (Jim), Eugene Levy (Jim’s dad), and Sean William Scott (hilarious as Stifler), but that really isn’t the point. It is about the imperfections of friendship and life. Of course, this is not a movie for children in any way, shape, or form. Enjoy this movie for what it is and be happy catching up with old favorites. It was good to see them again.
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