Friday, April 6, 2012

AMERICAN REUNION Movie Review- He Said/She Said

Directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg
Written by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg
Starring: Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klien, Seann William Scott, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Tara Reid, Mean Suvari, Eugene Levy, and Jennifer Coolidge
Synopsis: The gang is back for their high school reunion. 

Javi: Overall, it was such a stupid movie. There were many times when I thought to myself, "What the hell are you people doing?" Especially since the movie drives the point home that they are all "adults", I can't believe some of the stupid stuff that the main characters do. At one point, some high school kids make fun of them, and I'm glad for it. They deserve it. The over all story is decent enough not to piss me off, but then you get into the details of the plot, that it started to piss me off. There were some good amount of laughs that I can admit. But in between those parts, if you saw me cringing, it was because I kept on thinking, "Why are they saying or doing this?" Once again, I find it ironic that for a movie that talks about growing up and moving on, the jokes, the writing, and the soundtrack all seem to be stuck in 1999. (side note: I'm totally downloading "Closing Time" as we speak)

Jonesy: You can't help but be transported back to prom or a social with those songs. Now, I didn't hate the movie as much as you did. I definitely liked it more than I expected, but that was because I was expecting to hate this movie. I found this movie to be strangely nostalgic because this was the first movie that I snuck into as an underager.

Javi: GASP!

Jonesy: I know because no one has ever snuck into a movie before.

Javi: I haven't ever. I blame Catholic Guilt (c).

Jonesy: I just snuck into it because it was one of THOSE movies that you had to see. But it was great to see those characters again. I agree with you that their actions were questionable. And some of the "deeper" dialogue was cringe-inducing. I don't think that I've ever told someone "Just be yourself." And I'm almost 27.

Javi: To preface this, Chris Klein's Oz is now a douchy sports newscaster and did a DANCING WITH THE STARS type show where he lost. And you know what's funny? I thought the jokes like him on the fake STARS show saying, "Dancing was the truth. If everyone would just dance a little more, we would stop all wars." When the humor was satirical in that nature, I thought it was great. But the film never fully got there. And now that I think about it, tonally, it is all over the place. The jokes go from juvenile to satire to dumb. Like what's going? And then you get into these types of situations where the main characters all 31 years old stumble on a high school party full of 18-year olds drinking and their biggest concern is that these kids are in their old hang out spot? Not that they would be caught with minors drinking. What is this Canada or something?

Jonesy: Yeah, you get thrown in jail for that.

Javi: And they are just very chill about all of that. It's disturbing.

Jonesy: Every time that they are involved people outside of the original group was pretty weak, very silly, and just didn't work. The whole plot line of the 18-year old neighbor that has a crush on Jim (Jason Biggs), who he used to babysit, is a little ridiculous.

Javi: Yeah, especially after his YouTube "fame", although I could kind of sort of see this crush. Thought it might have been more believable if the crush was on the Chris Kline character. I mean look at him. To be serious, it's not that completely unbelievable, how many younger girls are into stupid older guys.

Jonesy: I meant that at least thematically, it was some of the weakest parts of the movie. Everything with the group was fine: the misunderstandings, the oh you've changed, or you've not changed. But the stumbling on an 18-year old's party with booze and super slutty 18-year olds was idiotic.

Javi: The movie also felt convoluted for an AMERICAN PIE movie. There were so many random plot points like the plot of Jim's dad trying to date again after the death of the mom. I thought that it would have been something along the lines of "appreciating your family and reconnecting with them, and even though you have friends take your family seriously as well." Going along those lines of friends being more important than family, what the hell happened to Jim and Michelle's son? Who was baby sitting him half of the time?

Jonesy: I don't know where he ended up. There's a lot of points they could have dropped. But I guess that the point of this movie was to bring back all of the gang from the first movie. And I was surprised that Stifler was such a focus of the movie.

Javi: Yeah, I can see that. HE's like the Jack Sparrow of this fanrachise, where he is not the main character but the sequels focus on him.

Jonesy: I think that it's because he is the guy that has never grown up and is still stuck in his partying ways, and he wants to relive everything from the past. And everyone knows that type of that person, and there's all of those that are stuck in college.

Javi: If there's one thing that I liked about this movie was how it got me thinking personally, culturally, or "pop culturally" about this obsession now more than ever with the past where between the movie's constant late 90's soundtrack and the fact that all of these people, even though they claim to be adults, act so immaturely. And, in a weird way, Stifler sums it up by saying, "You are still the person you were back in high school." And I think that they might actually all hate Stifler because they are also stuck in the past, but don't want to admit it. Stifler represents that, and they hate it. However, the script relies too much on past jokes. "Hey, remember that joke from 13 years ago? Isn't it funny nowadays especially that they now all have mustaches? Or how about a Facebook reference here and there because we're so modern." Every time that they put that on there it sounded so stupid. Even though there probably are 31 year olds that are so obsessed about Facebook comments, but it sounds retarded on the screen.

Jonesy: The Facebook comments did feel really weird. They should have only done it once. And I enjoyed a specific joke where Stifler makes a comment that COULD have worked 13 years ago, but nowadays it doesn't make sense, and he gets called out on it. I wish that the movie had more of that humor plus the satirical tone that you mentioned before. The glimpses of the good parts are way too brief though. I think the script got too caught up in capturing its old glory instead of just paying a bit of homage and being modern. I mean, comedy has grown since the first movie.

Javi: That's why I was groaning. There was a stereotypical scene where a main character is basically airing their dirty laundry in public. Ever since I saw this in a BRIDGET JONES movie, I have hated that people still write that into their scripts.

Jonesy: Wait, you've seen BRIDGET JONES?

Javi:  I just can't fathom anyone actually doing this in front of anyone.

Jonesy: Speaking of the party, I thought Stifler's party was hilarious because everyone is just having fancy cocktails, have their kids over, just standing around talking instead of not taking shots because those are the awesome types of party that grown ups like, which was a great comparison to how crazy Stifler's parties used to be. There's stuff like that it could have been better.

Javi: I think if it had been a complete satire it would have been better.

Jonesy: Sean William Scott is actually pretty awesome in this as are Jennifer Coolidge and Eugene Levy. It's great to see those two outside of a Christopher Guest movie. They are way better than this movie. It's great that they both share scenes together.

Javi: I agree! Now, reaching for the bottom of the barrel, could this movie also be a commentary on the fact that sex is still such a taboo subject in America? Think about it, you have two grown ass dudes that can't seem to be able to talk about it candidly. No, you have to act like a child like, "Oh no, I'm talking about penises with my dad, and I'm going to freak out!" I'm sorry, but has no one grown up in last 13 years? Put it this way, I don't talk to my dad about sex, but I feel that I'm not going to be such a freaking kid that if the conversation ever came up. I could honestly be okay with the conversation. Is that a white people thing? You're white, tell me!

Jonesy: I think you're being too harsh on that scene.

Javi: But that was every scene in anything regarding Jim's problems or the Dad wanting to date. They can't own up to talking about sex in a mature way. Even when the women talk, you hear them talk in whispers about sex.

Jonesy: I think you're being too hard about the scene. I think that it is a weird conversation to have with your parents. The movie doesn't make it seem like they have the a close relationship or anything. It sounds like they haven't visited him in a while. But Jim's dad is also weird. Jim asks for advice, and then his dad goes into detail about him and Jim's mom sex life. It's not something ANYONE wants to hear, "Hey Dad, tell me how you and mom have sex"

Javi: I will concede that you're right on this. But it still doesn't make sense why A) a father would go into so much detail about his sex life and B) why adults can talk about sex normally. Yet another flaw of the writing.

Jonesy: Yeah, you don't go around talking and saying that it was the 70's and there was lots of sexual experimentation.

Javi: And this brings to focus the fact that the writers don't know how to be subtle.

Jonesy: And you're right. This type of humor was funny in the original. Now, its like "We get it, your dad is weird and awkward," and the joke gets lame fast.

Javi: You're on the nose, it's repetitive and not good at all. Another point I wanted to bring up was that the nutidty in this movie made me uncomfortable. There are two very specific instances where the nudity was very unnecessary. I'm all up for young actresses getting naked while early in their career, but I don't know, maybe unlike the movie I've grown up, and I didn't find it necessary.

Jonesy: It seems that the film makers are just trying to reach to a new audience and don't necessarily care about the people that have grown up with this franchise.

Javi: I felt that there are hints of the upcoming sequels.

Jonesy: Yeah, and maybe they will make more. I guess they all still need paychecks.

Javi: I think that it could have been funny, but just felt flat. There were hints of good humor and it never reaches it.

Jonesy: If you are a fan of the last three movies, you'll like this. It's nothing ground breaking.

Javi: I'd say go see THE RAID or 21 JUMP STREET.

1 comment:

  1. American Reunion is fairly conventional as sequels go; it doesn’t try anything new, it hasn’t attempted to change the structure or the nature and volume of its body-fluid gags. However, if you love these characters and love this type of humor, this is a nice reunion to see. Nice review Javier. Check out what I had to say about it on my site.