Saturday, May 5, 2012

At the Movies - American Reunion

If you graduated high school in or around 1999, then chances are that you have a kind of connection to the American Pie movies.  Having belonged to the class of 2000, I was particularly excited to see the fourth and presumably final installment, American Reunion

Thirteen years have passed since Jim (Jason Biggs), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Oz (Chris Klein), and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) made their epic pact to each bed a babe on prom night.  Despite adulthood having descended in the form of wives, kids, and careers, the gang's all here (even Oz, Heather (Mena Suvari), and Vicky (Tara Reid), who were conspicuously absent from the conga line in American Wedding).  Not surprisingly, life hasn't turned out the way any of them expected.  Jim and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) are adjusting to life with a baby, Kevin is an architect-slash-stay-at-home-husband, Finch has been leading a life of exotic but vague adventure, Oz is a sports commentator with a spot on a "Dancing with the Stars" type show (hosted by Neil Patrick Harris!), and Stifler emerges from his mother's (Jennifer Coolidge) basement to crash the party yet again, apparently buckling beneath the demands of his secretarial gig.

The usual gross-out antics and naked ladies rim the edges of what amounts to be an oddly touching story.  Because beyond all the madness is a quiet reminder that everyone gets older and that life goes on.  Nowhere is this message more apparent than when we learn that Jim's mom died three years ago.  Jim takes over the role of caretaker as he gently nudges his dad (Eugene Levy) to dip his toe into the dating pool, an experiment that produces hilarious results.  Speaking of second chances, Oz becomes jealous of Heather's cardiologist boyfriend, Dr. Ron (Jay Harrington, the very same "Dr. Ron" from that guest spot on "Desperate Housewives" many moons ago), right around the same time that his own girlfriend ("30 Rock's" Katrina Bowden) is beginning to grate on his nerves.  But at the core of the crazy is Jim's moral dilemma presented in the form of an all-grown-up and smitten girl he used to (and this is kind of weird) babysit.   

Unlike the Hangover movies, American Reunion serves up a sex comedy with a conscious.  Sure, it makes you cringe in places, but it's the cringing that balances the sap, ultimately making the sap that much sweeter.    

2 comments:

SparkleFarkle said...

Wowza! Because do you know what makes me cringe? Yeah, sometimes it's movie gross-out antics and naked ladies, but that's not what I'm talking about this time. Instead, the mailman delivered my invitation to my 40th class reunion the other day! Oh, sigh (and a forced lol), because "Class of 2000" certainly has a nice ring...

Valerie said...

I've sensed this on Facebook-that the awareness of the passage of time, and the reality of getting older almost brings out a quiet desperation in some people to recapture what once was. I think we all want to believe that we are forever who we were when we were young-at least a little bit:)

Nice review Tracy:)