I suppose it isn’t surprising that a movie about nostalgia would rest on the laurels of its franchise.
Thirteen years after “American Pie,” the high-school seniors of that film are unhappy 30-somethings eager to relive their glory days. “American Reunion” is essentially the same teenage sex comedy as the first film but with an ever-present air of discomfort.
Characters pay lip service to the idea that high-school misadventures are not appropriate more than a decade later, yet we’re supposed to find it funny when a grown man takes a dump in a teenager’s beer cooler.
The jokes in “Reunion” are going to be familiar to anyone who has seen the original. If they aren’t the exact-same setups (Jim and his dad having awkward conversations about sex), then they’re generic raunchy jokes that were already tired in 1999. (Genital trauma, anyone?)
I did actually enjoy parts of this movie, though. There are laughs to be had. But in an age with great comedies, “American Reunion” just feels lazy.
I don’t think it is unreasonable for audiences to expect more than “Dancing with the Stars” parodies and gratuitous nudity. Even the nostalgia the film relies so heavily on is lazy, with characters being brought back for a line or two before disappearing.
The idea of bringing the cast of a teenage comedy back together years later could make for an interesting movie, and “American Reunion” does wrestle with the conflicts of aging.
Unfortunately, while the film’s characters realize that growing up is important, the film itself never really does.