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'American Reunion' successfully plays on nostalgia-fuelled laughs

By Sarah-Rose Marcus
On April 10, 2012


Thirteen years ago, America's favorite high school gang changed the lives of awkward and hormone-enraged adolescents with "American Pie."  This cult classic told the story of male bonding, giving us hope that we could live out our teenage fantasies with just a little encouragement from our best buds. Now its time for their reunion, showing fans what happened to their favorite characters.

As you'd expect, Stifler (Sean William Scott) is still the jerk pervert he was in high school, having no professional ambition and willing to do just about anything (or anyone) to have a sexual encounter.  Jason Biggs' character, the eternally awkward Jim Levenstein, now has a family with the lovable kinky band geek Michelle. 

Chris Klein's character, Oz, has turned out to become a host on an ESPN-type show in Los Angeles, who has continued to play the field and never quite gotten over his high school love, Heather.  Kevin is predictably a domestic husband, and Paul Finch is still as strange and secretive as always. 

The movie plays out like a typical "American Pie" installment, with Jim constantly stuck in painfully embarrassing sexual scenarios and Stifler screwing something up.  There are many moments of nostalgia that will make any dedicated fan smile, such as the inappropriate sex talks between Jim and his father, and clips of Jim's infamous webcam video that went viral before we'd ever heard of Skype.  In addition, there are cameos by classic characters from the beginning, such as Stifler's mom, Sherman "The Sherminator" and the oversexed foreign exchange student, Nadia. 

There are several touching moments as well, with underlying themes of friendship, love and growing up.  One of the most heartwarming relationships is between Jim and his father, who recently became a widower.  For the first time we see Jim as an adult, offering his father advice and pushing him to get back out on the playing field. 

Just as some of the characters in this movie have not moved on from their glory days in high school, it felt that some of the actors were re-living the peaks of their careers.  Actress Tara Reid, who played character Vicki, reminds us that she drove her career into the ground and has little acting ability to salvage it.  The movie reminds us how one-dimensional some of the characters are and demonstrates some actors' inability to break free of typecasting.

Nevertheless, if you are a true "American Pie" fan, then you will be able to overlook some of these flaws and will love a guilt free laugh at the movie's cheap sex jokes and raunchy sense of humor.

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