Why American Reunion just didn’t work…

My wife and I went to see the new American Pie movie last night; it wasn’t very good.


It kind of felt like we had an obligation to see this movie. The original came out my senior year of high school, its sequel two years later when I was in college, and I still profess that I think both of the first two are classics for their genre of coming of age-type comedies. Sure, all of the straight-to-dvd movies were absolutely terrible (all four of them!) and I honestly didn’t even remember the third one where Jim and Michelle got married until we came home and watched it after the reunion train wreck, but nonetheless, the first two had just been such greats that this new follow-up ten years later – now with all of the original actors participating and everything – they must’ve gotten things back in gear and gave the series a proper ending that it actually deserves, right?!


That’s what the trailer would lead us to believe, anyways – a fun, rockin’ good time with all of our old favorites and now even more history to add to the book, of course…

If that’s the legacy that you’d prefer for the American Pie series, then just put that trailer on repeat and never actually see the full 2-hour movie that was summed up in those 2 minutes.

Because instead of this movie revisiting an old classic, it turned out like most high school reunions do – a depressing look down memory lane when you realize that all of your best times are now behind you and this suburban life where you slave away in a cubicle for 8 hours a day before returning home to a crying baby and a sexless marriage is all that you’ve got to look forward to for the next step in this sad, little life of yours … that is, if you’re so “lucky enough” to even get the crappy job and the baby and the flustered wife, mind you!

The story had a few high points – some of the scenes with Jim’s Dad were really sweet, in particular, but more so it seemed like the story was just one depressing turn after another, with someone always either disappointing their significant other or disappointing themselves. And then in a last ditch attempt to inject some of the same wild youth into the ending, several of the characters either climax by A) getting back together with an old ex (and quitting his awesome job in the process); B) performing an act that would result in getting fired from their job; C) hooking up with an ugly lesbian because they were barely in the movie to begin with; or D) reluctantly accepting that their depressing life isn’t so bad after all.

I think the worst part of the movie, however, was watching Alyson Hannigan’s character as Michelle just completely dissolve from this shy, but sexually spirited girl in the first movies to just your typical, boring Mom in this one … and maybe the writers decided that this would be more true to how the character would actually grow, but newsflash – we don’t go to the movies to see characters just like us … we go to see characters more fun and interesting than us!!! That’s why seeing her, along with all of the rest of these guys, settle into the mediocrity that is most of adulthood just seemed like such of a downer – we expect more of our entertainers!

Plus, it doesn’t help that now more than a decade later, Hannigan has a fantastic character on TV with Lily on How I Met Your Mother who’s strong and confident and spunky and also grown-up … if anything, Lily is the grown up version of Michelle that I would’ve liked to see in this film because it shows a growth for the character as opposed to a steady decline as life starts to sink in…

As the credits rolled, I turned to my wife and told her that we really should’ve known better when we sat down, but she agreed that this was one that we just had to check out for ourselves to be sure. She also laughed … a lot … when she asked when it had opened and I replied, “Yesterday…” considering that we were one of maybe five couples in the entire theater.

Could this have been a better movie? It’s hard to say because I thought the trailer looked promising. Maybe all of those crappy sequels over the last decade deflated whatever enthusiasm the brand still had left, or maybe they just needed to come up with a better story. Or maybe the whole concept of high school reunions in general is kind of depressing and wasn’t really the best approach for a comedy even though it might’ve seemed like a given because the original was set in high school. Key learnings that I picked up from watching American Wedding later on that night, though – when you’ve got earlier movies in the series that are also poking fun at it, maybe that’s the time to just hang it up and call it a night…

So in conclusion, I really wanted this movie to be enjoyable, if nothing but for nostalgic reasons, but in a single word … nope.  😳

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