Reviews for the Easily Distracted

Reviews for the Easily Distracted:
American Reunion

Title: American Reunion

Wait, They're Having A Reunion Already? When Did American Pie Come Out? 1999. Truly, the grim specter of Death comes for us all.

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: Two flutes out of five.

Brief Plot Synopsis: Classmates get together for their 13th high school reunion, attempt to have sex with everything.

Tagline: "Save the best piece for last."

Better Tagline: "Natasha Lyonne's still alive?"

Why 13 Years? You expected Universal Studios to celebrate their 100th anniversary without an American Pie movie? Please.

Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: East Great Falls High's class of '99 has spread to the far corners of the globe. Oz (Chris Klein) is a sportscaster living in Malibu with a supermodel, Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) works from home as an architect, Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) travels the world as a younger version of the World's Most Interesting Man, and Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) have a new two-year-old. And then there's Stifler (Seann William Scott), still living with mom (Jennifer Coolidge) and currently employed as a temp/HR nightmare (I guess those stories about him working as a porn producer in Band Camp were slightly exaggerated). Arbitrarily deciding to attend their high school reunion, the friends must deal with those terrible dilemmas plaguing all thirtysomethings (waning sex life, pining for high school girlfriends, hot 18-year-olds wanting to lose their virginity to you...the usual).

"Critical" Analysis: All due credit (or blame, whatever) to the first American Pie for reviving that venerable cinematic institution -- the teen sex comedy -- for a new generation. Writer Adam Herz built upon the noble traditions of movies like Porky's and Private School, mostly by ramping up the smut: Coach Ballbricker pulled Pee Wee's cock through a hole in the shower wall, Jim fucked a pie. World without end.

But what made the first movie work to the extent it did was the youth and unfamiliarity of the cast. Their clumsy and usually sincere efforts to lose their virginity were believable, and let he who has not at least considered inserting his schvantz into a freshly baked dessert cast the first stone. Watching the same old group get into the same old shenanigans (the girl Jim used to babysit now wants him to deflower her, everyone wants to jump Oz because he was on a Dancing with the Stars rip-off). There are some attempts at poignancy, as when Oz and Heather (Mena Suvari) meet back up, and the movie isn't without laughs (Rebecca De Mornay, what are you doing here?), but otherwise these flicks all take place in that mystical alternate Hot Dog...the Movie universe where everyone over the age of 15 spends 99% of the time trying to fornicate.

We all know that real number is down around 75 percent.

And then there's Stifler. No teen comedy would be complete without the requisite jackass, the guy who spikes his friend's cappuccino with laxative, or breaks into a house to spy on lesbians (American Pie 2), or gets teenaged girls drunk to more easily have sex with them. This behavior, explainable if not acceptable in a teen, is repulsive in a 31-year-old man. Stifler's practically a date rapist and not only is it incomprehensible that the other four would hang out with him, I'm glad Finch fucked his mom.

Maybe Herz saw the writing on the wall, since this time around he's turned the writing and directing chores over to Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, the duo behind the Harold & Kumar series. The upshot being even less subtlety (has it really been six whole weeks since the last time I saw a man's genitals on the big screen?) and a pot smoking scene. Luckily Eugene Levy's streak of appearing in every American Pie sequel and spin-off continues unbroken.

And after watching some of these characters again...who knew Hannigan would end up the most successful of all of them? I barely recognized Mena Suvari, who ten years ago was the Next Big Thing, and it was nice to see Klein, Scott, Tara Reid (Vicky) and Natasha Lyonne (Jessica) emerge from their well-documented troubles to reprise their roles (though Lyonne is onscreen maybe two minutes), but whatever spirit the original film possessed has faded like Shannon Elizabeth's career.

But don't worry, in 40 years or so we can start looking forward to the first round of American Funerals.

American Reunion is in theaters today. Shit, I just remembered my own reunion is in a few months. Better get that medical degree posthaste.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar