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Pleasing Pie

"American Reunion" is a fun taste for gross-out enthusiasts.

Let us now praise Eugene Levy.

The bespectacled, Ontario-reared comedian has humor chops to spare, and the most famous set of eyebrows of anyone that’s not named . His deadpanned, TMI-spewing character of Jim’s dad here doesn’t quite carry the show (Seann William Scott as the caustic Steve Stifler does), but Levy’s contributions are definitely memorable in this third sequel to the gross-out classic American Pie.

Levy’s cut-each-other-off banters with son Jim Levenstein (Jason Biggs) in this movie are worth the price of admission alone. The two talk over each other like a pair of Vaudeville-era jugglers, to great comedic effect.

However, based on the audience’s audible reactions, the slapstick, genital-crushing funny bits are what put the butts in the seats for this one.

This franchise began back in 1999 with American Pie, which begat not only several sequels but which also begat a new film genre — the gross-out comedy, which thereby begat Superbad, The Hangover, 21 Jump Street and pretty much anything featuring Zach Galifianakis. It’s a genre filled with dope, nudity and barf — a perfect trifecta of ingredients for any moviegoing 15-year-old (even though it’s rated R).

Yet somehow, this one works for multiple generations. The filmmakers and cast once again tap into a seminal coming-of-age storyline — this time featuring marriage, kids and careers. It’s also comedic plot as old as Shakespeare, but one that works: People are together, drift apart and come back together again with some important changes having taken place.

The gang of five (Biggs, Scott, Chris Klein as Oz, Thomas Ian Nicholas as Kevin, and Eddie Kaye Thomas as Finch) decides to reunite for their 13th high school reunion. Late-night bar scenes turn into hungover mornings, and costly vandalism is punctuated by narrow escapes.

In the end, we’re reminded that friendship trumps stupidity, and that revenge is sweet, even amongst friends. It’s two hours well-spent, a good time for all.  

Quotable moments

“I love my wife, but I need a good weekend with the guys” — Kevin

 “It’s been a long time since I’ve needed a babysitter” —  Kara (Ali Cobrin)

“My house, my rules” — Stifler’s mom, warning her son about what she might be up to when he gets home.

“You only get one chance at your 13th reunion” — Finch

“I translated the Brothers Karamazov into Latin for fun” — Finch

“Why do you think you went to Hebrew school three times a week?” — Jim’s dad, explaining how he got to spend time with Jim’s mom

Other observations at the moviehouse

  • The upcoming Savages, which features a seemingly malevolent John Travolta directed by Oliver Stone, looked promising until they started blowing up cars. It’s about a couple small-time pot dealers taking on a Mexican cartel intent on elbowing into the U.S. market.
  • From my notes: Scary music + big spaceships + director Ridley Scott = the incredibly lame-looking Prometheus.
  • Rock of Ages’ all-star cast, including hairy performances by Alec Baldwin and Tom Cruise, looks to be the low point of movies this year. Do we really need to lionize the musical stylings of Journey?
  • Ted looks to be relatively amusing, in the same dope humor kind of way as American Reunion. Mark Wahlberg looks to sever ties with his longtime bud, a talking teddy bear known by the same name as the flick’s title.
Flora Dora April 10, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Is there ANYTHING worth the price of admission in our theaters these days?!
Dave Wilson April 11, 2012 at 06:52 PM
The Hunger Games was pretty decent, Flora Dora!

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