Saturday, April 7, 2012
AMERICAN REUNION: Don't Believe the Bad Press
There’s only one way to say this: AMERICAN REUNION was great.
Friday night. Back at the CP Theatre. The 10.00PM showing of AMERICAN REUNION. At first I was worried. The 25 minutes of previews were all terrible, nothing but movies about decapitating people and the end of the world. You could feel the life getting sucked out of the theatre from these in-your-face, Armageddon-themed promos. We’re PIE people. We came to party and laugh, not hear about the end of the world. Who’s in charge of placing previews with certain movies? Know your audience. After that brief glimpse at the end of days, it was time to get down to business.
Truthfully, I went into this movie expecting it to be really bad, just another forced, money-hungry sequel, like AMERICAN PIE 2 & AMERICAN WEDDING were. I only went to REUNION because, as a card-carrying member of Generation X, I was obligated to go. Those two movies I just mentioned were total junk, stupid, annoying, the grating chronicle of Stifler (Sean William Scott) going from cool, high school party dude in the classic AMERICAN PIE, to really disturbing psycho in 2 & 3. But Stifler was totally cool in REUNION. I was certain that Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) would again talk like a four year old. “Holy potatoes, Jim.” But she talked and acted like a normal, adult woman, like she does in HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER. I won’t give away the story, but I will say the whole cast was perfect this time around, all of them at 30 years old, and back in Great East Falls for their, uh, 13 year high school reunion. As adults they were exactly the way PIE fans would wish them to be. It really worked. If you loved the 90's music that trademarked the entire franchise. More of the same on that score.
The entire cast was brought back, even Tara Reid, who looked good. I can’t believe I just wrote that: Tara Reed looked good. Oz (Chris Kline) looked good, Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas ), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Heather (Mena Suvari), they all delivered with perfect balance. Plus, we only had to endure about 15 seconds of Shannon Elizabeth’s God-awful Nadia. The cast’s chemistry was phenomenal. One reviewer, who bashed the movie of course, said that PIE’s sequels just don’t work, because this ensemble is no AMERICAN GRAFFETTI, they lack what that ensemble had. Lack? The PIE cast is far better than the GRAFFETTI cast. And Eugene Levy (Jim’s Dad) was Oscar-worthy in this movie. Did you just read that? Oscar Worthy! OK. Maybe Golden Globe.
In REUNION, there were no forced scenes, i.e. Jim gluing himself to the adult movie, or Stifler and Finch trading identities to win the affection of some insignificant female character. None of that dumb filler, where Jim was mistaken for Petey at Band Camp, or Michelle’s mother eating a dessert that was actually dog do-do. Dumb, dumb, dumb. This movie was actually a legit comedy, like THE HANGOVER and SUPERBAD. I laughed the entire time. It was clever, it was true to its own identity. It didn’t sell out in the end. And believe me, guys, I wanted it to bad, I wanted it to sell out so I could bash it. But nope. I kept waiting for it to get dumb, but it never did. It was just funny. After 10, 20, 40 minutes, I turned to the person I was with and said, “So far, it’s great,” Then, “So far, it’s great.” It was great from opening credits to closing credits.
“But Brian, US Weekly said it was dumb.” Please don’t believe the National Critics, all of whom have panned REUNION from coast to coast. I don’t know what they’re seeing. “Tired” “Worn out.” I don’t get it. One reviewer simply wrote, “It’s terrible.” Maybe they were shown PIE 2 or WEDDING by mistake, because REUNION was the best the franchise has ever produced, even better than the original. When the humor stopped, the heart started. There is a scene between Jim (Jason Biggs) and his dad (Eugene Levy) that is so heartfelt. It was almost Soprano-ish. I can’t believe I just wrote that. But it’s true. God! I wanted this movie to stink. But nope. It blew my expectations out of the water. It was 1,000 times better than BRIDES MAIDS. It was better than HANGOVER 2. It was better than both MEET THE PARENTS sequels, way better. It was better than DUMB & DUMBER. OK, just kidding about that last one. It was good. But not THAT good.
I won’t give away the ending or the character arcs. I will just say that if you are a PIE fan you will be 100% satisfied with how the franchise walks off into the sunset. It was so well done. Stifler finally exacted long-overdue justice. And, in what I thought was a great sign of respect, the REUNION producers let Eugene Levy have the final scene, and it is EXACTLY how you’d want to see Jim’s dad go out. I don’t know what to tell you guys. I wish I could find something, anything wrong with it, but I can’t. At one point I went to the bathroom during the film. I sprinted back to the theatre, so I would miss as little as possible. Sprinted like an idiot. And guess what? I was told I missed a hilarious part. Of course. PIE fans, it was worth the nine-year wait, trust me. Go see it. You won’t be sorry.
Read a Review (I found a positive review, wow): http://www.starpulse.com/news/PrinzLee_Romero/2012/04/06/review_its_an_american_reunion_laugh_
Read a Review (Only 2 stars. I don't get it): http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/movie-review-american-reunion-article-1.1056649