Saturday, 28 July 2012

Movie Review: American Reunion

About 10 years ago 'American Pie: The Wedding' was released and ended the iconic comedy film series on a high note. That is until the American Pie name was used for several awful sequels that followed new characters in a desperate attempt for the film studio to make more money off of the once beloved American Pie name. In 2012 a new American Pie film was released starring the original cast and characters and based off a reunion storyline, sadly this film is no more than an excuse to revisit the success enjoyed by the series in its heyday. It's a poorly written, badly thought-out cash-in that sadly ruins the original series' reputation.

13 years after graduating high school Jim Levenstein, Paul Finch, Chris "Oz" Ostreicher, Kevin Myers and Steven Stifler have become adults and possess all the responsibilities that come with it such as marriages, jobs and children. When they hear about their upcoming high school graduation the friends decide to shake-up their mundane lives and return to the good old days when they were in high school without a care in the world.

The plot in this film is difficult to find some interest in, it's a scattered mess where each scene has little relevance to each other and the only actual coherent story point it touches on is that of the reunion itself. The disjointed script allows for no real for focus or direction for the film to follow meaning it meanders throughout its 1 hour and 50 minute runtime (a certainly overindulgent length for a film with such a basic plot) until it hits the credits. It really seems as if the plot is composed from a cluster of ideas melded into one screenplay with no storytelling relevance other than the reunion itself which takes up decidedly less screen time than a drawn out beach scene in the first half hour.

Jason Biggs returns as the often unlucky Jim Levenstein.

American Pie has never been particularly sophisticated or its humour that well crafted. It has however been a series (the original 3 films) that has delivered well executed lowbrow comedy with hilarious farcical situations. For this film though, it appears more than anything as if someone is attempting to emulate the humour of the original and failing miserably. The most important thing to note is the fact that these characters in no way validate a return, they just aren't interesting enough to warrant it and their story has already been told satisfactorily. Instead of the people they once were the characters now seem like empty shells, appearing more to the audience as impersonators of the characters than the real deal, characters like Paul Finch for example have lost any semblance of their interesting aspects and now only serve to drag the film down to even more boring levels, the less said about Stifler's unending repetitiveness the better.

Among such mediocrity there are a few moments in the film that actually herald a laugh but this is more often than not because they are simply rehashing a gag from a previous film in the series. 'American Reunion' really brings nothing new to the American Pie name and even the characters it introduces are so one-note and uninteresting that you'll wish they'd been left out completely. This films attempt to ride on the coattails of its funnier older brothers becomes even more obvious during some scenes in the film that are so similar to previous entries at a glance that you would think you were watching one of the older films, some scenes involving Jim and his dad are almost shot for shot identical to the preceding films.

The old gang reunites.

Though the film has more than its share of faults it is nice to see the characters again and the returning cast members do an good job with what poor writing they are given, there are also a few nice cameos spread throughout the film that are nice to see and remind the viewer of the older films. Eugene Levy still manages to do a great job as Jim's dad in the movie through his awkward interactions with his son and a particularly funny moment where he smokes a joint with Stifler's mother.

Despite this film, American Pie will still remain the iconic series it always has been. When it was released in the late 1990s and early 2000s the films were a perfect fit, however in the film market of 2012 and onwards I really don't see a place for it, a new type of comedy has been in demand and there are much better crafted comedies available such as 'The Hangover' and '21 Jump Street'. If the studio had any respect for the series that has made them so much money they would let it die peacefully rather than digging up this, its rotting corpse.

No comments:

Post a Comment