“American Reunion
Is it possible to be schmaltzy and raunchy at the same time? “American Reunion” is advertised as the high school reunion of the “American Pie” cast, but it’s really a buddy movie where the scatological frenzy is a thin disguise for old-fashioned romantic longing. But to take it too seriously is to misunderstand the intent entirely, so here are a few casual, callous observations in the spirit of puerile joie de vivre:
1) Jason Biggs’ backside nudity is intended to be comic, and his leather-thong getup intended to be farcical. You have to decide if that’s actually funny, or merely pathetic.
2) Chris Klein’s character is the outwardly successful Esquire-looking man with the knockout young girlfriend, but he’s actually still carrying the torch for his old high school flame.
3) Thomas Ian Nicholas’ character is the doting, domesticated, emasculated husband who needs to re-discover his man-card.
4) Eddie Kaye Thomas’ character is the sad-sack assistant store manager who tries to pretend that he’s currently fulfilling his dreams of the sophisticated world traveler.
5) Seann William Scott plays the hasn’t-changed-a-bit frat party guy, who appears to be still as immature as he ever was—the raging id unfettered-- but he, too, is hiding a “real life” that’s a disappointment even to himself.
Yes, we have indiscriminate nudity (mostly one girl who spends about ten minutes with her shirt off, but though she plays an 18-year-old, at least she’s really 23). Yes, we have plenty of ribald conversation filled with sexual innuendo, some of which is surprisingly funny, but, as if realizing that a steady diet would be tiresome even to the verbally prurient, the makers of this film kind of settle into an old-school middle-aged romance. Whoda thunk it?
No, you can’t bring your grandmother. And you wouldn’t want to see it with your kids, either, no matter how old they are. Would I recommend this to my Sunday School class? No. But if your little secret pleasure is that you like raunchy humor that’s not mean-spirited, and where most of the grown women are emotionally mature, while the doofus guys are still figuring out how to survive their protracted adolescence, well, you might chuckle at the juvenile antics despite yourself.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Interim Pastor, St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, Irving , Texas