Cinema, also released 3/5/12


THERE is a moment in the fourth and hopefully final slice of the American Pie series when loveable Jim Levenstein (Jason Biggs) loses his patience with sex-obsessed man-child Stifler (Seann William Scott) and laments: "You're so trapped in the past. When are you going to realise things will never be the way they used to be?"

Writer-directors Jon Hurwitz and Jason Schlossberg would have done well to heed their own lesson because Reunion spends almost two hours clinging onto the same illusion, placing the now thirty-something characters in the same cringeworthy situations that end with Jim trapping his manhood in a laptop or another member of the gang being spattered with bodily fluids.

Pert breasts and male appendages abound, shrouded in the usual sniggering schoolboy humour that still believes the lead character harpooning a warm apple pie with his lower portions is the dizzying pinnacle of bad taste.

Hurwitz and Schlossberg's interpretation of toilet humour is literal.

When vindictive teenagers humiliate Jim and his buddies, Stifler retaliates by relieving himself – entirely – in their ice box.

Sure enough, the head bully delves for a chilled light ale and pulls out something far warmer, eliciting groans of disgust just as the film-makers intended.

Subtlety didn't receive an invitation to this reunion.

Jim and his wife Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) head back to East Great Falls to attend their 13-year high school reunion in the company of Oz (Chris Klein), who is now a minor television star, house husband Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) and eternal wanderer Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas).

The arrival of Heather (Mena Suvari) and her cardiologist beau (Jay Harrington) piques Oz's jealousy while Kevin is nervous to see old flame Vicky (Tara Reid).

Meanwhile, Stifler is up to his old tricks, hankering after one girl he crassly remembers as "the mouth that got away".

American Pie: Reunion is like that moment at a party when most people have left but a few stragglers remain, drunkenly caught in a reverie as the exhausted hosts longingly contemplate bed.

It's one helping of filth too far for most of the characters, dooming them to repeat old mistakes or, in the case of Kevin and Finch, do nothing at all worthy of inclusion.

Whenever Hurwitz and Schlossberg hark back to happier times in the late 1990s, when Jim's charmingly innocent yearbook entry stated he hoped "to have the sex life of Ricky Martin", we're reminded how little the actors have achieved in the intervening years.

For us, the rewards of this lame attempt to recapture former glories are scant.

We can predict punchlines in advance and the characters don't derive anything of value from their experiences.

They are older but none the wiser.



DURING a tour of duty in Iraq, Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault (Zac Efron) is ambushed by the enemy and several of his men are wounded or killed in the subsequent fire fight. Logan escapes unscathed and as he catches his breath, he glimpses a photograph of a beautiful woman in the rubble. When the Marine returns home, he travels to North Carolina to track down the woman in the snapshot. She turns out to be Beth (Taylor Schilling), who works in a family-run kennel with her feisty grandmother, Ellie (Blythe Danner). Before Logan can explain the reason for his visit, he agrees to help Beth with the animals and their bond deepens to the chagrin of her jealous ex-husband, Keith (Jay R Ferguson).