“American Reunion”: Another Stale Slice of Pie?
Bruce Fretts: Lock up your pastries! The American Pie gang is back for American Reunion. I have no nostalgia for the original 1999 high-school sex farce, since I’d already been out of college for 10 years when it was released. So I recruited a couple of members of the Pie generation, podcast host Matthew Aaron and his writing partner Steve Weirich, to help me review the fourth—or eighth, depending on if you count the direct-to-DVD sequels—helping of the franchise. I found it depressing in the same way actual high-school reunions are: Nobody looks as good as they used to, and you don’t have as much fun as you’re hoping. What did you guys think?
Steve Weirich: What I did like about it was I related with how you can look back at people from high school and think, “Oh God, these people weren’t that great.”
Matthew Aaron: You don’t remind me of any of the characters in the movie. There are no characters like you and me.
Steve: No, but it reminded me of everyone I went to high school with. No wonder no one in high school liked me. I’m not like any of these characters!
Matthew: I was watching the movie, and I just kept thinking about when Mike Tyson came back to box, and everyone thought it would be great. The nostalgia wears off, and unless you have a really good script, it’s not gonna be great. Eugene Levy and Jennifer Coolidge were the best things in the movie, as usual. Eugene got all the laughs in the theater I was in.
Bruce: Well, he has actual talent. He has sustained through many generations, from SCTV to the Christopher Guest films to the American Pie movies. Whereas the rest of the cast, they all had this moment 13 years ago where everyone said, “Oh, this is the new generation of Hollywood. This is going to be the next American Graffiti and all these actors are going to do great things.” And none of them did. So it’s sad to see them back trying to reclaim the glory days.
Matthew: I will say this: Chris Klein turned it up a notch. He thought this was going to be his comeback picture, and he tried as hard as he could.
Bruce: He tried too hard. Through the entire movie, I could see flop sweat on his giant forehead.
Matthew: Some of them looked like they had bad plastic surgery. Seann William Scott looked like he just got out of rehab. He looked awful, with the thinning hair, and he was so thin. It was kinda sad to look at.
Steve: Maybe he was Method acting. He wanted to look like a real Stifler.
Matthew: He had some good scenes. It was better than the second and third movies but not nearly as good as the first. Then in the end credits, they show all the pictures from the first movie, and it’s like, “Why are you reminding us of a way better movie? Why are you making us feel bad?”
Steve: That was the prize if you didn’t walk out.
Bruce: My rule is I won’t walk out of a movie until I’ve at least seen all the major cast members. So I couldn’t walk out of Reunion because Natasha Lyonne and Shannon Elizabeth don’t show up until the last five minutes, and then they’re given almost nothing to do.
Matthew: That made me so mad!
Bruce: I guess they just wanted to be complete and include all the characters, but I didn’t remember some of them, like John Cho’s character. Was he in the first one?
Matthew: He was one of the two horny guys on the sidelines.
Steve: They were like Rob Schneider in The Waterboy. The same writer-directors who did American Reunion also made the Harold & Kumar movies with Cho. And it shows. I haven’t killed enough brain cells to laugh at that kind of humor.
Bruce: That also explains Neil Patrick Harris showing up in one scene, as the host of a Dancing With the Stars-type show. Which they could’ve done more with, since Shannon Elizabeth was on that show, but they just kinda dropped that plotline. I guess these guys loved the original Pie movies and were trying to reclaim the mantle, but it didn’t really work.
Matthew: They could never get the Weitz brothers back to write and direct—they’re doing Bob De Niro movies now.
Bruce: And Twilight. What bothered me about Reunion, too, was it took an hour and a half to get to the actual reunion, and then not much happens—except Rebecca De Mornay shows up as Stifler’s mom.
Matthew: And thank God! I’d still throw her a bone.
Steve: You and me both.
Matthew: I did like the scenes with the 18-year-old girl Jason Biggs’ character used to babysit.
Bruce: Because she’s topless?
Matthew: Well, that doesn’t hurt. I think I liked the movie the most. I’m going to go with “It was all right.” Can we at least agree it was better than Bucky Larson?
Steve and Bruce: Absolutely!
Bruce: I hope this is the end of the series, though. The point of this movie is how boring the characters’ lives have gotten. How much more boring could they get?
Matthew: I wouldn’t be surprised if they made one more. It’s making pretty good money. And they leave it open at the end when they say, “Let’s do this every year!”
Steve: I threw up my Jujubees when they said that.
Bruce: I went cold turkey through this movie. I didn’t get my usual hot dog and Coke Zero. And I didn’t fall asleep, so I guess the movie’s got that going for it. It was okay. It was kinda like getting an email on Facebook from someone you used to know in high school. You exchange a few pleasantries, then you quickly realize there’s nothing left to say and it’s just awkward. And it’s dispiriting that all these actors have flamed out, either in their personal lives like Tara Reid and Natasha Lyonne or with failed sitcoms like Jason Biggs and Eddie Kaye Thomas.
Matthew: It’s kinda weird to see Jason Biggs go from CBS to showing his penis.
Bruce: I really didn’t need to see that.
Matthew: I don’t think any of us did. And Jason Biggs’ ass gets more screen time than Natasha Lyonne and Shannon Elizabeth combined.
Steve: That’s because Jason Biggs’ ass has an agent!
Did you help yourself to another piece of Pie? Go ahead—dish!