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Getting together with American Reunion'

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The gang from American Pie' grows up

The movies we see and love as young adults often go on defining our cinematic tastes long after we have supposedly 'grown up.' However, the opportunity to see the cast of one of those movies after they too have grown up is pretty rare.

'American Reunion' is that opportunity.

The film, officially fourth in the 'American Pie' canon (though there are a slew of straight-to-video offerings that co-opted the 'American Pie' name), sees the original crew returning to East Great Falls for their high school reunion. Jim (Jason Biggs, TV's 'Mad Love') and Michelle (Alyson Hanigan, TV's 'How I Met Your Mother') are married with a child. They still love each other, but the passion seems to have left their marriage. Oz (Chris Klein, 'Caught in the Crossfire') is a sportscaster and minor celebrity with a model girlfriend. Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas, 'InSight') is a work-at-home husband, while Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas, TV's 'How to Make It in America') simply reappears after vanishing for years, telling wild globetrotting stories. Former flames such as Vicky (Tara Reid, 'Last Call') and Heather (Mena Suvari, 'Restitution') are also back.

They all make their way back to their hometown, where Stifler (Seann William Scott, 'Goon') works at a crappy temp job and still lives with his mom (Jennifer Coolidge, 'Mangus!'). Jim's dad (Eugene Levy, 'Goon') is still around as well. Of course, once they're all in the same place again, they start falling into their old patterns including the wealth of awkward, wacky, sexually-charged misunderstandings for which the series has long been known.

First things first they brought everyone back. EVERYONE. Even minor characters from the 'AP' universe have been brought back into the fold. Even if it's just a brief glimpse, they are there. And that's where this movie derives a lot of its charm. When that first film came out, these people were kids. Now we get to see them all grown up; there's no recasting and no stunt casting the class of 1999 is back in all of its glory.

The unfortunate thing about this film is that the world has moved on without it. While the 'American Pie' movies were once at the forefront of teen sex comedy, times have changed. The Judd Apatow-ization of teen comedies has rendered the previous movies and by extension this newest installment almost quaint. It seems weird to equate a level of innocence with films that are all about sex, but there you go.

Still, there's something to be said for watching these characters dealing with adulthood in the same ways we ourselves have grown. And there really are some genuinely funny moments. However, there's a good deal more poignancy here than you might expect. Real relationship issues are brought to bear, albeit with a humorous twist. Heck, Eugene Levy might even bring a tear or two to your eye. No fooling.

The biggest thing that 'American Reunion' has going for it is right there in the title; it's a reunion. Not only for the audiences getting to spend time with familiar characters once again, but also for the actors themselves, coming back together for a project that will serve to remind at least some of them of their first big break. The entire cast looked to be having a hell of a good time. That's about all you can ask.

It's a fitting end to the series; sure, it's a little bland in some places and a little forced in others, but 'American Reunion' just like all its antecedents has a good heart. And that's good enough.

3 out of 5

Last modified on Thursday, 26 April 2012 09:44

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