Wednesday, 2 May 2012

FILM REVIEW: American Reunion

There's still some good laughs to be had, but this particular horse was beaten to death a long time ago

A reunion, especially a school reunion, is always a double-edged sword. On one hand, one can rejoice in seeing old friends again; on the other hand, it's a scary reminder that we're not as young as we used to be. That some things are better left in the past; and one of those things, as it turns out, is the American Pie series.

The first American Pie has endured as some sort of time capsule, both a comfortable and uncomfortable reminder of one's youth, idealism and naïveté. But a great deal of everything that followed it isn't really worth talking about. Sure, there's been the odd chuckle or memorable moment here and there, but the pall of trying to recreate the "magic" of the first film hangs over all its successors. And American Reunion is no different. Even the Harold & Kumar writers and a wonderfully perky Ali Cobrin (who is surely set for bigger things) can't save it.

Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) have found that being married and having children (well, one) has taken its toll on their sex lives. Oz (Chris Klein) seems to have it all - in his case, a sports presenter job and a hot girlfriend (Katrina Bowden) - but something's lacking. Ditto for Vicky (Tara Reid) and Heather (Mena Suvari). Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) is still trying to pretend to be cooler than he is. Stifler (Seann William Scott) is ten years older, but no wiser. And Jim's Dad (Eugene Levy) is still reeling from the death of his wife three years before.

So, what better than a reunion to "relight the fire", for our heroes, so to speak? And it does... with the expected heavy knocks along the way. It's like 1999 all over again, with the same kind of embarrassing mishaps, awkward conversations, line deliveries, amusing cameos and even songs (you'll know what I mean once you hear them). It all feels very flat, very obligatory - as if everyone, both cast and crew, is there for no more than an easy pay cheque. Worse still, it reminds you that time has really not been that kind to our heroes.

Watching American Reunion is like watching the tenth series of Friends (or the majority of episodes after the second series, to be brutally honest) - once upon a time, you couldn't get enough of these characters, but now, you no longer want to spend time with them. Sorry to say, the words "beating" and "a dead horse" come to mind. Fans of the series who want to see this in the cinema should definitely keep their expectations low.