- - Thursday, April 5, 2012

“American Reunion” is stupid, even for a stupid movie.

In the first installment of the “American Pie” franchise, there was a redeeming note of sweetness that attenuated the crassness. In this latest sequel, there’s no spark animating the usual scatological sight gags, extended scenes of simulated sex and reflexive misogyny — it’s just puerile for the sake of being puerile.

In “American Reunion,” the gang (Jim, Oz, Kevin, Finch and Stifler) meet up in East Great Falls for a high school reunion. Jim (Jason Biggs) is married to his high school sweetheart Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), but their marriage has grown a little stale in the years after the birth of their son. Oz (Chris Klein) is living his dream as a successful sports TV personality in Los Angeles, with a slinky model wife. But he’s still carrying a torch for his beloved Heather (Mena Suvari). So it goes — Stifler (Seann William Scott) is still an unredeemable jerk, Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is still too sensitive, and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) is still fronting as an intellectual.

The early films got a lot of mileage out of scenes with Jim and his dad, played with deadpan precision by Eugene Levy. Jim’s dad was notorious for offering frank sexual advice that left Jim cringing in embarrassment. They trot out the same set piece here, but Mr. Biggs and Mr. Levy are on autopilot — like a pair of ventriloquist dummies talking among themselves. And these are probably the best scenes in the movie.


It’s not clear what prompted the studio to assign “American Reunion” for theatrical release — the last few installments went straight to video. This played-out franchise appears to benefit only its stars, who are largely unemployable in feature films. But it’s hard to imagine an audience for this movie, other than those 30-something fans who grew up with the series and whose tastes have not matured since 1999.

½

TITLE: “American Reunion”

CREDITS: Written and directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg

RATING: R for extensive nudity, cursing, excessive alcohol and drug use, and simulated sex

RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes

MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS