Once upon a time in Hollywood, in the land of fake boob-jobs and rehabbing stars, there was a raunched-out movie about four lewd n’ crude teen All-American boys hellbent on losing their virginity. A movie that so out-grossed every gross-out comedy that came before that it became the multiplex’s biggest buzz, the blueprint for butt-rocking teen movies to follow and the cinema standard for slapstick sex flicks and screen sleazefests.
The year was 1999.
And the movie was American Pie.
Existing in a world before Facebook, before texting, before sexting, before Skrillex had peach fuzz and before your school’s dumbest kid had a smartphone, American Pie (directed by brothers Paul and Chris Weitz) was a sicko twisted-titty comedy gleefully diving into the murkiest movie waters imaginable. Teen taboo sh*t Hollywood veered away from in years past, like masturbation and webcam sex and hilariously-disgusting bodily functions. A fractured fairytale about the class of horny dorky kids at East Great Falls High School in Michigan vulgarly vowing to lose their cherries before graduation day, the film was crass, crude, shocking, shameless, tasteless.
It was also honest about teenage emotions.
And it was funny as hell.
It was a big-ass box-office hit.
Movie audiences ate this Pie up. And screamed for more.
Two semi-yawnworthy sequels followed.
But it’s the year 2012 now. And the beer-guzzling badasses of the Class Of ’99 are adult thirtysomethings, with burping babies, dirty diapers, widowed parents, bitch-slapping bosses, crap jobs and even crappier lives. Sexual-retard Jim is married to bland band geek Michelle, and they have a toddler with a bad sense of timing when it comes to Jim’s Web-porn addiction. Kevin is a stay-at-home architect married to Ellie but still dreaming of Vicky, and lacrosse-star Oz is an L.A.-tanned sportscaster with a supermodel girlfriend. And then there’s Steve Stifler, the Stiffmeister, the class wannabe-stud slimeball who’s still obsessed with boffing teenage chicks but is stuck in workplace hell as an office temp. So what better way to get the gang back together again than…
A 13th high school reunion!
(13th?? Huh??? Nevermind…)
There the guys hope to reconnect with old girlfriends and new high school hotties. The neighbor girl Jim once babysat is now a wild-thing 18-year-old with an unleashed libido. She tries seducing her ex-babysitter on the beach, then in his car, then at a party. The gang’s free-spirit friend Finch shows up, missing-in-action for years, boasting James Bond-like stories of adventure. As the reunion approaches and the troops assemble, Jim and Michelle plot to recreate their living-la-vida-loco prom night, Oz’s date gets in a catfight with his old girl, Stifler throws a house party which gets interrupted by the cops and by fist-fighting motorcyclists, and you expect the killer comedy and cheesy fun will grab you by the hair and holler, “Gotcha!”
But the raunch is gone, bro.
What was raunchy-but-sweet in Pie 1999 when the guys were randy teens now comes out of the movie-factory oven sickly-sweet. What was crude in ’99 is kinda stale after 13 years. It’s been out-naughtied by big studio balls-to-the-wall movies like Superbad, Bridesmaids, South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut, by the Harold & Kumar franchise and by The Hangover series. Hell, even TV cartoons like Family Guy now have more of an edge.
American Reunion, the fourth Pie slice, isn’t a bad movie. It doesn’t feel driven by greed or rushed-released with a script that sucks. It just feels tired. The saga’s run out of juice, like the age-thirtyish characters’ sad-sack lives. You want the movie to be lethal, but it’s lame. The sick gags aren’t sick enough to make you pee your pants. The frat-boy jokes aren’t tastelessly-funny enough to make you fart in your seat. And the brain-extinct sex-obsessed morons don’t do anything moronic enough to make you to leap up waving devil-horns-fingers to give the screen a standing O.
Don’t blame the actors, though. Everybody in the cast gives it the old-college try.
Jason Biggs as Jim and Alyson Hannigan as Michelle are still cute and wack. They make a pretty freakin’ hilarious, bumping-and-grinding Mommy and Daddy, with a freaky fetish for black leather and dominatrix whips. Chris Klein gives ex-jock Oz some MVP moves on a reality-TV dance show. Eugene Levy as Jim’s horny Dad is still hooked on porn, then he hooks up with Jennifer Coolidge as Stifler’s Mom for some bootylicious bedroom perversions that will either (A.) make you chuckle, or (B.) creep you right the fu*k out, depending on how many Baby Boomer-age parents you might be seated around.
And speaking of creeps:
Then there’s Stifler.
One of the silver screen’s greatest lechers, pervs, smart-asses and F-bomb-jacking skirt-chasers, Stifler’s played by Seann William Scott with a set of huge gonads and still-raging hormones. Stifler’s revenge-crap in a rival gang’s beer cooler is a stone-cold classic. But it comes 20 minutes into the movie, leaving you both cringing then begging for more. Even the climax at the reunion, as Jim and Michelle bonk in the classroom while Stifler’s gaining revenge-shagging with Finch’s Mother (Rebecca De Mornay), seems to go on and on and on, without climaxing.
It’s sleazily-nostalgic. But watching American Reunion kinda feels like you’re watching VHS porn of your Mom and Dad. (Ugh.) The characters are all here, and give you a warm feeling in your heart. But then it kinda makes you wonder what lies ahead for Harold and Kumar, and the whole Hangover gang, in the year 2025…
Watch the official trailer below:
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