‘American Renunion’ succeeds in lacking freshness

It seems like movie producers and writers these days find great enjoyment in their latest hobby: beating a dead horse…over and over again.

There’s little creativity shining in Hollywood right now. Movie plots are often recycled and used in a different movie disguised under a new title.

That’s exactly what you get with “American Reunion,” the eighth and latest movie in the popular “American Pie” series, a collection of films known for its crude humor but lacking substance behind that humor.

Sure, some of the jokes are funny, but the movie doesn’t stand out from the next comedy. The plot is too predictable and trite.

And the performances are mirrored from the ones we witnessed in the first few installments of the series.

The movie returns to where it all started, East Great Falls, Mich., in where five friends and their wives and girlfriends return home for their class of 1999 high school reunion.

They all find that things have changed since when they were kids growing up. But the jokes haven’t changed.

They all look like adults, but the same hormone-enraged teenagers who like to pull juvenile pranks are still there.

Most of the actors and actresses who appeared in the first three films appear in this one, including Jason Biggs reprising his role as Jim Levenstein, who is now married and has started a family with his high school sweetheart Michelle (Alyson Hannigan).

And, of course, who could forget the megalomaniac Steve Stifler, who Seann William Scott represents for the fourth time in the series.

Levenstein’s dad is again portrayed by Eugene Levy, who is the only actor to appear in all eight films of the series (four of them were straight-to-DVD works).

Levy is perhaps the lone bright spot in this dull cast. You can’t get enough of those scenes where Jim’s dad gets inserted into those awkward father-to-son conversations that seem to happen routinely throughout the movies.

“American Reunion” is no different from the rest and Levy puts on a solid performance that will get a few chuckles from the audience.

But the movie doesn’t offer much from the standpoint of freshness.

Viewers of all ages won’t find this funny since most of the material is targeted toward teenagers and college-aged kids.

Sex is the centerpiece to more than half of the jokes in the movie, which does create some laughter.

But if filmmakers in this era can only derive humor from sexual-related things exclusively, then we have a problem.

“American Reunion” is just like any other comedy in the past decade. You throw it away in the recycling bin after you get some use out of it, then another Hollywood producer or writer will eventually pick it up again and rename it something else.

It’s a sad era for comedy films for today’s Hollywood. “American Reunion” just happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

“American Reunion” does provide us with a few laughs–the  one at the end with the party scene is quite comical–but  at the end of the day, it’s hard to give this a passing grade because it offers little memorable value.

Viewers will come out of the theater having watched it and wake up the next morning forgetting all about it and maybe even wondering where that $6 went they had in their wallet the previous day.

 

JACOB TARR

[email protected]