Monday, 22 October 2012

Review: American Reunion

Year: 2012
Director: Hayden Schlossberg, Jon Hurwitz
Screenplay: Hayden Schlossberg, Jon Hurwitz
Starring: Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Sean William Scott, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Eddy Kay Thomas, Tara Reid, Mena Suvari

Synopsis is here

So after years of dubious direct to video sequels and poor casting choices, the original cast of American Pie are back. And depending on how you feel about the franchise, you could be gleefully lost in late nineties nostalgia, or have a deep feeling of despondence at the whole affair. To me a fan of the original film, I found this return all a little obvious.  Much of this stems from the American Pie franchise having never really escaping from the jaws of its DTV bretherin. While we are thankfully spared the zany, now-out-of-canon antics of Stifler's brother/cousins, the same flat, well trodden tone of sequels past remains.

Reuinon also has to contend with the fact that the series is no longer the grossest kid on the block. Things have changed since the Apatow clan cropped up, the class of 1999 no longer shock like it they used to. Not a terrible thing as one of the stronger elements that's often forgotten about American Pie is it's warm take of male comradeship. Much of this remains as Reunion focuses on misguided bravado, former past glories and the inevitably growing old. The chemistry between the cast is still solid enough to warrant laughs even though the set pieces never reach the heights of before. Some plaudits should also go Sean William Scott who carries one of the larger arcs extremely well.

However, having such a large ensemble cast means having to keep a certain amount of balance. Where Pie stood firm, Reunion falters. Many characters are smacked to the sidelines, why? Because there wasn't that much of a need for them afterwards. Everyone is shoehorned in awkwardly with actors who were mere bit parts, get expanded to to how their status grew since (Stand up John Cho) Such is the trouble with franchises, it becomes tough to trim the fat when you know some enjoy the chewy bits.

Reunion works intermittently, with more laughs than expected for a forth entry of a 13 year old franchise. However by the end, when everyone sprouts pronounced feelings based on quite small misunderstandings, it all feels like the late franchise entry it really is. Warmer than tepid, but you miss nothing if avoided.