Wednesday, April 4, 2012

American Reunion

Posted: 04/ 4/2012 3:14 pm

Fun, outrageous and charming.
Yes, charming.
Who would have thought that this group of unintentionally vulgar young men could be charming? The timing of American Reunion makes it charming. The direction by Jon Hurwitz and Adam Schlossberg is top-notch -- they know their comedy. The gags work because the editing is tight and takes you out of a scene just before the joke is about to become stale. The writing is witty and raunchy and wonderful. Adam Hurtz, Jon Hurwitz and Adam Schlossberg wrote this dandy delight and once again it is apparent that maintaining control of a film by having the writers direct works.
American Reunion is good because the rhythm of the humor flows. But it is 20 minutes too long. The writing team felt a need to tie up all the characters lives after the reunion, but this was a mistake and led to a boring conclusion. The script almost pre-ejcaculates like our hero Jason Biggs did in the first of this series American Pie in 1999. You have 60 minutes of side-splitting humor, then a raised toilet seat for the conclusion?
Until then you have lines like "Orgasm Donor" written on a t-shirt. In regards to the semen-stained pages of an adult magazine, Biggs says. "I thought a lot about returning them, but they had too much sentimental value." On adultery, "In France, it's only considered cheating if your wife catches you in the act."
There is little plot other than four dudes returning to East Coast Falls, Michigan, for their 13th high school reunion. Stars Michele (Alyson Hannigan) and Jim Levenstein (Jason Biggs) are a breath of fresh suburban air. Their desire to have a sexually charged marriage is the driving force for much of the humor. But their marriage has fallen into snoresville. Michele is adorable as her face has many expressions while she delivers one sentence, meaning that she uses every muscle to express her feelings. Michelle plays well with Jim Levenstein because he is the opposite in his deadpan "Oh, now what have I done" kind of humor. The rest of the cast works well together as an ensemble with Seann William Scott as Steve Stifler, serving as a standout -- as are Jennifer Coolidge as Stifler's mom and Eugene Levy as Jim Levenstein's father.
Oz (Chris Klein), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), his old girlfriend Vicky (Tara Reid), and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) make up the rest of the entourage. All actors play well together as ensemble acting, but one of my favorite scenes is when Levenstein is caught in the kitchen wearing a t-shirt and nothing else after a night of debauchery. Wifee Michele enters with a friend and asks Levenstein to hand her a roll of paper towels. He can no longer conceal his naked penis but tries and puts a pan on top of it in an attempt to hide it, but the pan is glass. Bravo for Jason Biggs.
There is a great gag ending again after the films ends, but it is mid-way through the credits so don't leave the theatre too soon. Sadly, the film goes on too long. Cutting its length would have given it punch. As it is, it fizzles out because the writers felt an unnecessary need to follow each of the four men into their after lives which drags the film into ho hum city.

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