Everyone grows older, but not everyone grows up. This is apparently true for some movie franchises as well, as demonstrated by American Reunion. The fourth film in the series (not counting numerous direct-to-video releases), this film brings back virtually the entire cast from the 1999 original movie -- and virtually the same humor as from the first one.

American Reunion starts with a "where are they now?" of the main male characters from American Pie. Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Allyson Hannigan) are married with a 2-year-old son -- and have hit quite a dry spell in their sex life. Oz (Chris Klein) is famous as both a sportscaster and losing contestant on Celebrity Dance-Off -- and his hot girlfriend Mia (Katrina Bowden) is a bit too wild for him. Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is happily married -- but not happy about his wife making him watch shows like The Bachelorette and Real Housewives. Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) has become a globetrotter but never found a lasting relationship. And Stifler (Seann William Scott) is as obnoxious, sexist, horny, and crude as ever -- but he's stuck temping for an obnoxious boss. They're all brought together for their 13th high school reunion (an odd number, but matching the time since the 1999 release date of American Pie). And of course there's Jim's Dad (Eugene Levy), now a widow nervous about dating once again.

The guys may have adult lives, responsibilities, and problems -- but soon they're acting like teens again. For Jim, it's the temptation of Kara (Ali Cobrin), the girl-next-door than Jim used to babysit; of course for a movie like this, she just turns 18 and has the hots for Jim. Oz has to deal with old feelings for former girlfriend Heather (Mena Suvari), Kevin wonders about feelings for his former girlfriend Vicky (Tara Reid). Finch finds himself starting things with old classmate Selena (Dania Ramirez). And Stifler, well, he's out to get laid, get drunk, and get revenge every chance he can. The rest of the cast from the original movies is here -- including Jennifer Coolidge and Shannon Elizabeth -- but they pop up more for nostalgia than for any real humor or plotting.

For a movie about folks supposedly growing up, most of the humor here is extremely juvenile. There are the usual sex jokes, excrement jokes, nudity for comical purposes and embarassing public exposures. But while Eugene Levy remains terrific in his awkward-without-realizing-it role, and Seann William Scott is too consistently juvenile to be creepy (someone 13 years out of high school hitting on high school girls), the rest of the cast seems to be methodically going through the same paces as before -- gross-out humor and romantic longing -- as before. American Reunion is also both ageist and sexist, as the teens and new characters are all barely-dressed babes, while the actresses from the original are far more subdued (and covered up).

American Reunion is an exercise in nostalgia, simply rehashing the types of jokes and relationships from the older movie instead of trying for something new. Some of the jokes are funny, but this movie aims far too much at bringing back older characters and sex-and-bodily-fluids humor and too little at being, well, good.

Overall grade: C-

Reviewed by James Lynch

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