By MATT COKER
By AIMEE MURILLO
By AMY NICHOLSON
By JONATHAN KIEFER
By INKOO KANG
By STEPHANIE ZACHAREK
By CALUM MARSH
As in any reunion, the idea is to recapture a bygone feeling—that is, to echo the Pie films that came before. Jim will engage in an awkward birds-and-bees chat with his father (Eugene Levy) and be summarily subjected to public humiliation. Stifler will stay on the shots-and-tits hamster wheel, acting exactly like Stifler. Basic truths about sex and intimacy will be rediscovered and reinforced. Boobs will make an appearance. The character of Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) will continue to be dead weight.
After some strained "Remember the time . . ." callbacks to 13-year-old gags, American Reunion gets comfortable and funny, as Hurwitz and Schlossberg hit familiar marks from unexpected angles, while the ensemble interplay is "routine" in the best sense of the word. Taken altogether, the Pie movies offer a cohesive worldview, showing each of life's stages as the setting for fresh-yet-familiar catastrophes, relieved by a belief in sex, however ridiculous it might look, as a restorative force. The recipe is so durable and the sustained character work—more arrested development than development—so second skin by now, one can imagine the Pie films keeping with the dramatis personae through middle-age and into the problems of geriatric love, a raunch-comic version of Britain's documentary series Up, which revisits the same subjects every seven years: American Midlife Crisis? American Retirement? American Funeral? Let's go!
This review appeared in print as "I Love the '90s: The shelf life of Clinton-era nostalgia, tested in Titanic 3D and American Reunion."
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