American Reunion

Try to imagine this. It’s 1999. Jim’s dad (Eugene Levy) catches his sexually curious son (Jason Biggs) raping an apple pie. Instead of disposing of the dessert, though, he places the molested pastry in a time capsule. The vault is sealed and buried in the yard, where the rotting slice grows stale, sticky and revoltingly indigestible.

Thirteen years later, the capsule is opened. The pungent stench of moldy fruit and crusty ejaculation is enough to make you want to vomit. What’s left of the soiled pie is scraped out of its filthy container, placed on a plate, and served to susceptible patrons as something edible.

If you hadn’t already guessed, the rancid pie remnants in the above analogy are meant to represent American Reunion. And Universal is handing you a virtual fork, daring you to scoop a mouthful of this wretched “comedy” and choke it down. Please, God, tell me you’re not going to waste your time and – more important – money on prepubescent jerk-off humor that reeks of comedic flopsweat and gender-insensitive sexual frustration.

And yet, I honestly expected something better. What an idiot that makes me. Even though the American Pie brand has since devolved into a straight-to-video crap factory cranking out tepid sequels meant to titillate teenage boys (and keep Levy employed), I chose to believe that the producers wouldn’t bother dragging the series back into theaters unless it had something relevant to say about getting older and finding our way as post-graduate thirtysomethings who are wrestling with careers, children and aging parents. Nope. Reunion ends up being everything I prayed it wouldn’t be: Lazy, stupid, recycled, immature, predictable, unfunny ... a pathetic attempt by a dead franchise to scrape the bottom of an already filthy barrel and squeeze a few more dollars from audience members seeking clichéd nostalgia. The only thing that differentiates it from the aforementioned DVD sequels is that the original cast members from the 1999 installment all had time on their professional schedules to participate. Given their non-existent acting abilities, though, it’s easy to understand why they’re hardly in demand.

The story involves the Pie kids returning home to Michigan for their 13th high school reunion. (An unlucky number for them, and for us.) Each arrives with a unique emotional problem, all of which are resolved in stupefyingly boring fashion. The central conflict involves “old” married couple Jim (Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), whose relationship is in a rut. Neither can stop masturbating, yet sex with each other sounds about as appealing as sitting through American Pie Presents: The Book of Love.

Jim blames their sexual frigidity on the couple’s young son, though never fear – directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg jettison the child for long stretches of Reunion, prompting this parent to wonder why Jim and Michelle are never with their kid, or interested where he might be. Jim, in fact, hardly ever touches his child, if he even touches him at all. Maybe it’s because I’m a dad, but I tend to pay attention to stuff like that. The filmmakers should, as well, if they’re going to bother introducing a child into the equation. It would be remarkable, if only Reunion was one of those movies that concerned itself with details. It doesn’t.

Tell me, what is the point of American Reunion? As a comedy, it dwells on five unsatisfied man-children who despise their present, fear their future, and long for a past that wasn’t very enjoyable in the first place. You’d never celebrate the Pie movies for their sophisticated insights into the human condition or their inspired physical comedy. Yet even the one choreographed bit in the middle of Reunion, which finds Jim sneaking his naked teenage neighbor back into her suburban bedroom, is a tired exercise in sitcom chicanery.

Sloppy direction and pedantic screenwriting almost could be excused if Reunion had something to offer beyond sex-crazed punchlines that stopped being funny before American Wedding. Who’s still laughing as Scott’s unfiltered frat brat Stiffler pines for an oral-happy girlfriend he disgustingly dismisses as “the mouth that got away?” But as the movie’s attempts at recreating its tailgating youth scattered haphazardly like buckshot, I felt sad for anyone who behaves like the frozen-in-time idiots of the Pie universe … and for anyone who thinks spending time with these movies is entertaining.

“Maybe in high school it was funny. Now it’s just a felony,” one character reflects. He’s exactly right. 

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.