American Pie’s appeal lay in its bawdy, often puerile humour, and the latest instalment is no different. Unfortunately for the makers of the increasingly tired franchise, in the wake of the previous instalment, the lewd film with the vulgar humour has seen itself reinvented into the raucous, intelligent film; see Bridesmaids and the many Judd Apatow produced films for an example of how outrageous humour can belie a film’s hidden emotional depths.
American Reunion has no such emotional depths: there is no message here aside from a tired reinforcement of the joys of friendship. Certainly I’m not suggesting that every film has to have depths and moments of profundity, but if there’s nothing behind the film aside from the humour, the humour should be genuinely funny. American Reunion is not funny; at its worst it is sexist and homophobic, at its best it is simply disgusting: one scene in particular made me feel physically ill, and I’m not easily affected.
Taking place thirteen years after the first incarnation, American Reunion sees the gang reunite for their high school reunion, each member struggling with issues; lack of sex, lack of career progression, an apparent lack of ‘guy-time’. What ensues is a largely unfunny dull narrative -essentially several self-contained set-pieces or episodes – that much of the humour should, in theory, stem from.
Obviously I am not American Reunion’s target audience, so I can’t really critique for aspects that I personally do not like. What I can, and will critique is the ideology that such a film represents and promotes. Firstly, the film’s attitude towards women; when a female character drunkenly removes her clothes, it is apparently acceptable to attempt to view her naked body whilst she is unconsciousness – reducing her feminine form to the sum of its body parts. It’s this kind of attitude that reinforces and introduces such an attitude within more impressionable, less questioning viewers. Secondly, its attitude towards homosexuality, whilst not so overtly offensive, feels perhaps more jarring, so shocking is to see a film that still upholds such ignorant attitudes.
When there are films such as the recent acclaimed Bridesmaids it feels bizarre to see a film whose production is so isolated, seemingly taken little of the recent comedic trends into account.