American Reunion (2012)
During my stay at Southeastern Louisiana University, I caught a theatrical production of the Aristophanes play “Lysistrata”. Modernized to include characters like Britney Spears and Kevin Federline, the play was about a group of wives who withhold sex from their husbands in an effort to avert war. I remember writing a fairly positive review (mostly because the director was my teacher), thinking it wasn’t so bad. When I asked a good friend of mine about it, he referred to it as merely a collection of “dick and fart jokes”. At that, I thought to myself, “Man, sex and toilet humor have been around forever, haven’t they?”
In the fourth (not counting the Direct to DVD spinoffs) installment of the series, American Reunion sees our main characters Jim, Kevin, Finch, the returning Oz and the forever awesome Stiffler return home for their thirteen year (what?) high school reunion. Over the course of the reunion, they will cross paths with old flames, solve any current existential crisis they may have and, of course, watch Stiffler shit in a teenager’s beer cooler.
For what was billed as the final installment of the series (look it up), I have to say it leaves a bad last impression. I know that this section is for what I DID like, but you have to know that finding something likable in this was difficult for me.
Well, Stiffler’s story arc – as a former popular guy turned temp worker – was particularly interesting, and I have to say that I felt good for him when he found a solution to his problem (as well as getting a little payback from an incident in the original film, in a good cameo by Rebecca De Mornay).
The only thumbs up this movie gets
The return of Oz was good, and it was nice to see him deal with his slutty model girlfriend while trying to rekindle the spark with his old flame. Moments like that were desperately missing, and replaced with…
This sequel doesn’t let you forget the fact that the original happened. It’s almost two hours of non-stop nostalgia, call backs and references to the first (and best) film of the series. It crosses the line of subtlety early on, and just becomes obnoxious. It’s like in that movie From Paris with Love, when John Travolta’s bald head looks over at his partner, and says he loves a good Royale with Cheese. LOL! Cause he said that in Pulp Fiction! Stop referencing a better movie – it only reminds me how bad this one is.
You didn’t like my Pulp Fiction reference?
Not just concentrated on reminding you of the better moments of the franchise, American Reunion also focuses on relentless raunchiness. Yes, the series is kind of known for these type of jokes, but they were balanced with a good bit of heart. Clerks 2 had a donkey show, but it was also about two characters you cared about, with problems you could relate to. Here, a woman booty dances on Chris Klein for the sake of booty dancing on Chris Klein and we get an unnecessary close up shot of Jason Biggs’s (or a stunt double’s) penis (the nudity isn’t the issue, but the shot is). There are too few real and far too many fake sentimental moments for these things to be forgiven. Give me something with humanity, not just a parody of humanity. You CAN be dirty while being heartfelt, you know. What, was this ghost written by Michael Bay?
Maybe I’m too old, and just don’t get what makes the kids laugh these days…
Beers Four and Five
The end credits ending. Yes, I’m going to spoil it for you.
It features Jim’s Dad – the lovably awkward and sentimental father figure who had to put a normal face on the crazy situations – and Stiffler’s Mom on a date in a movie theater. He puts his arm around her, and she proceeds to give him head under the popcorn. He makes odd faces as the popcorn moves up and down. He climaxes, and remarks about the movie being quite good.
I wish I could recommend this as good raunchy fun, but it’s just not. If you want a good slap in the face, by all means, purchase a ticket. In the meantime, I’m going to look up some more Aristophanes.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: if you were expecting something with a bit more heart.
Take a Drink: when you start feeling embarrassed for the actors.
Do a Shot: because Stiffler eating a dog turd in American Wedding was NOT the lowest moment of the series.