Sift through comments on franchise sequel announcements and you'll find many crying afoul to Hollywood's insistence of resurfacing every last brand in their bank of titles. The desire for original content is reasonable but occasionally a cinematic follow-up does have the potential to be rich and rewarding. Revisiting characters who've seen time pass in their own lives is worthy of exploration — Peter Bogdanovich's Texasville Richard Linklater's Before Sunset and even A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas prove that theory. American Reunion reaches for that same dramatic arc reentering the lives of its core cast eight years after American Wedding. But instead of mixing comedy with any weighty issues the movie only tickles the nostalgia bone (and without f**king one pie in the process) — a hurdle that keeps American Reunion from being nearly as riotous as the original.
Life hits a wall for Jim (Jason Biggs) in 2012. He's a happily married man a father and a moderately successful employee of a faceless company. But after catching his wife Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) enjoying the company of a shower head it dawns on Jim that he's in need of a shake-up. Perfect timing: Jim packs up the family and heads to his hometown for his 13th high school reunion (sure why not) where he reunites with the old gang: Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) currently whipped into submission by his girlfriend Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) back from a trip around the world Oz (Chris Klein) now a superstar sportscaster fresh off a celebrity dance show stint and Steve Stifler (Seann William Scott) a law firm temp who continues to turn women into his own personal squeeze toys. The high school buddies devolve quickly into their old habits alcoholic antics and potty-mouthed rants by the red solo cupful. Good fun for Jim no fun for Michelle.
Instead of digging deep into its well-founded characters (which I swear is allowed in a raunchy R-rated comedy) American Reunion sticks to the familiar goofball scenarios of its predecessors. Which is passable because the core group who stuck through all three movies — Biggs Nicholas Thomas and Scott — make poop-infused pranks and slapstick shtick like a scene in which Jim and co. must get a drunken naked eighteen-year-old back into her parents' house without looking like total creepsters highly entertaining. Scott once again proves him an underused comedic talent making Stifler one of the few characters who can rattle off colorful cuss words while showing a glimmer of humanity. Same goes for Eugene Levy as Jim's Dad who finds his role beefed up now that he's once again single. Grieving for years over his wife's death Jim helps his advice-dealing pop hit the dating scene and Levy spins gold out of the silliest of situations.
The problem with American Reunion is everyone else. Chris Klein never clicks with the rest of the group (that's what he gets for skipping out on Jim's wedding) while the rest of the ensemble feel ham-fisted for cameo purposes rather than complimenting the storyline. Tara Reid and Mena Suvari return to the franchise to stand around and react to the ineptitude of their male counterparts. Natasha Lyonne is in and out faster than Jim's first time. Other brief character appearances are like bigfoot sightings. The idea of bringing the entire cast of the original back for more seems perfect but without proper pacing from writers/directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay) there's never a moment to enjoy it.
American Reunion is a flaccid entry servicing fans while coming through with enough laugh out loud moments to make one scream (In one scene Jim takes a page out of Michael Fassbender's Shame that will elicit audible reactions). If these were fresh characters we'd brush it off — but at the film's core is a lovable familiar bunch of knuckleheads that can't be ignored. And if Stifler wants to party you party.
When James Cameron changed the landscape of 3D stereoscopic filmmaking with his groundbreaking blockbuster Avatar I'm sure he still had misgivings about the final product. He couldn't include a scene in which eggs are thrown towards camera. There was no moment where Jake smokes marijuana and blows it off screen. Not a single character pleasured themselves and released out into the audience. Maybe in the sequel.
Thankfully for those looking for that immersive corporeal experience there is A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas a foul hilarious and surprisingly heartwarming holiday experience that utilizes its eye-popping technology to take gross out humor to a new level. If you're not already on board with the previous stoner antics of Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) from White Castle and Escape from Guantanamo Bay it's safe to say that 3D Christmas won't be roping you back into the series but for fans the movie steps up the franchise's game. Writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg take the three years since the last film into consideration putting the duo on opposite ends of the maturity spectrum only to have them reunite for a zany Christmas adventure. The results are rather touching.
We pick up with Harold now a suit-wearing Wall Street type bending over backwards to make Christmas perfect for his ball-busting father-in-law (Danny Trejo). Adding to the stress are his wife Maria who is anxious to have a baby despite the couple's inability to do so and his next door neighbor Todd (Tom Lennon) who would do anything to be Harold's best friend. Kumar is his antithesis—burnt out baked and broken up over the termination of his relationship with Vanessa. When a mysterious package addressed to Harold lands on Kumar's door (he hasn't lived there in years) the medical school dropout takes a ride to his former cohort's white picket fence house. The package is exactly what you'd expect: an enormous joint. Admitting he doesn't smoke any more Harold throws the weed away—only to see it magically return and burn down his father-in-law's Christmas tree.
Like its predecessors Harold & Kumar 3D takes off from its wacky catalyst and shoots directly (and without regret) into outer space. Without hesitation Harold and Kumar's quest for a Christmas tree takes them from a terrifying tree yard run by RZA a coked-out Christmas party thrown by the teenage kids of New York's deadliest gangster and a holiday stage show starring—you guessed it—Neil Patrick Harris. The movie piles on gags and inside jokes (the movie winks at the camera with Star Trek and White House cracks) but few fall short thanks to their clever execution and two characters Cho and Penn help us give a damn about. Even in its lamest moments—Todd's baby finding her way into a variety of drugs is one of the movie's running gags—Harold & Kumar 3D still pops. Director Todd Strauss-Schulson squeezes every bit of silliness out the movie's various scenarios adding a dash of nostalgia for fans and making the entry worthy of the original. Even Harris outdoes himself (and the man road a unicorn in movie #2) riffing off his own homosexuality which we learn is really just a play to get more woman to take their clothes off. Obviously.
If the traditional holiday classics haven't been quite your style Harold & Kumar 3D is a more-than-worthy addition to the Christmas movie pantheon delivering on warm and fuzzy friendship cliches while filtering it through bathroom humor and bong water. By the time Harold and Kumar trip and turn themselves into claymation you'll either be cackling with laughter or on the way out of the theater. Me? I was high on it.
The beautiful Dominican actress Dania Ramirez has just joined Universal Pictures American Reunion, says Variety. She'll play Trisha, the ugly duckling nobody noticed in high school who has since grown into a beautiful swan - and a love interest for Finch (the character played by Eddie Kaye Thomas). I don't see how it's possible that Ramirez could ever have been an ugly duckling, but I'll let it slide; this is a film coming from Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle) after all.
The pair are writing and directing the fourquel, which finds the original American Pie crew returning for their high school reunion and discovering that time or distance can't break the bonds of friendship. Awww. Production is underway in Atlanta, Georgia and the film is on track to hit theaters on April 6, 2012.
The actress tells Melbourne's Sunday Herald-Sun that the new film, American Reunion, is looking really good.
She says, "Sequels are very tricky but, if this is done the way I think it's going to be done, it will be a great movie. I think they did a really good job on the script."
In the new film, directed by Hayden Schlossberg and Jon Hurwitz, the graduates of East Great Falls High head home for a reunion.
Coolidge's onscreen son will again be played by Seann William Scott. In the film Steve Stifler is no longer the crude ladies man he was in high school; in fact, he's a bit of a loser, according to MovieHole.net.
Original cast members Chris Klein, Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Mena Suvari, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid and Eugene Levy have also signed on for more Pie.
Coming as a surprise to absolutely no one, People magazine spoke to Chris Klein and confirmed that the actor will return to the franchise that gave him a (middling) career in Universal Pictures American Reunion. The fourth film in the series will surely contain boatloads of the crude sex comedy that made all of the original films $100 million hits and will hopefully bring its characters some closure, as I'm sure Sean William Scott is tired of being referred to exclusively as Stifler.
Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle) will write and direct the film, which should begin shooting in late May for a January 7th, 2012 release (that date inspired a whole lot of confidence). Most of the core cast, including Alyson Hannigan, Jason Biggs, Tara Reid and Scott will return. Nostalgia is the only thing this film has going for it, so Universal better pray that my high school classmates plan a get-together to go see it because I don't know who else will.
Jason Biggs, Eugene Levy, and Seann William Scott have all accepted offers to appear in American Reunion, the fifth (sixth? Who knows how many direct-to-DVD sequels they made. And if they count at all) sequel to the American Pie franchise. Scott accepted, despite the fact that he checked himself into treatment earlier this week. Guess he needed to clean himself up before playing an alcoholic slacker douche. Method acting, you guys!
Anyway, Universal is still in talks with most of the original cast because it just wouldn’t be a real American Pie reunion without Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Mena Suvari and Jennifer Coolidge. Know who else they’re talking to? CHRIS MOTHER FUCKING KLEIN! MIGHT AS WELL GIVE HIM THE OSCAR NOW BITCHES. THE KLEIN TRAIN IS PULLING BACK INTO THE STATION OF KICK-ASS! OH YEEEEEEAH!
Meanwhile, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, the writer/director behind the underappreciated Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, will handle the writing and directing duties for the reunion. The original American Pie writers and directors, Adam Herz and Paul and Chris Weitz, will executive produce.
Wait. We’re missing someone very important here. WHERE’S ALYSON HANNIGAN, FOOLS? She’s the only female cast member to find steady work post-Pie and she’s not going to be in the reunion? GASP! Does that mean her and Biggs' character got a divorce? NOOOOOO!
Source: Hollywood Reporter
The American Pie franchise is making a quasi-comeback (since it has always lived on via straight-to-DVD spinoffs), and the creators of Harold & Kumar have been brought on to direct.
Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg will reboot the raunchy teen-comedy series with American Pie 4.
The duo has already starting writing the script for the fourth installment, and Hurwitz and Schlossberg are reportedly hoping to bring back the original cast members.
Shouldn’t be too hard: Eugene Levy apparently can’t say no to any Pie movie, and Tara Reid is in no position to turn down an acting job!
As a result, the next Harold & Kumar adventure, A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, will be directed by rookie Todd Strauss Schulson.
Yes that’s right. BFF’s Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) are indeed endearing in their own pot-smoking crass totally inept way--and movie No. 2 continues to prove it. It starts a couple hours after they’ve successfully completed their White Castle quest with Harold’s vow to follow his lady love to Amsterdam. At the airport Kumar runs into his ex-girlfriend Vanessa (Danneel Harris) and is shocked to discover she’s about to get married to a guy he considers a real “douche bag.” But once they make it onto the plane all manner of hell breaks loose: Mistaken for terrorists (yes it does have something to do with marijuana and a bong) the two end up escaping from Guantanamo Bay and embarking on one outrageous misadventure after another to clear their names--and wreck Vanessa’s wedding in the process. High times dude! It’s funny that this week’s new movies features two sets of Odd Couples: Baby Mama’s Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and the reteaming of Penn and Cho who simply click on all cylinders as the pot-smoking former college roommates who couldn’t be more different yet so connected. Even though you cringe at the ridiculous predicaments they find themselves in these two guys sell it lock stock and barrel. Supporting them is Daily Show’s Rob Corddry who overplays it as the hard-ass bigoted Homeland Security agent going after the boys. But it’s the weird characters they meet along the way that make the Harold & Kumar movies including The Office’s Ed Helms as an interpreter; Missi Pyle as a forward-thinking Southern hick; and of course Neil Patrick Harris once again playing himself as a debauched mushroom-taking unicorn-spotting moron. Harris’ appearance in the first Harold & Kumar showed everyone just how funny he is leading to his hilarious turn in the hit TV show How I Met Your Mother. This just solidifies it. Writer/directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg probably never thought they’d be back again after their first Harold & Kumar Goes to White Castle effort. But here they are doing it all over again. Maybe it was a fluke the original touched a comical nerve in those Gen-X slackers who made H&K the new Cheech and Chong of the 21st Century but there’s something to be said for a good old-fashioned stoner movie. Unfortunately for Guantanamo Bay however Hurwitz and Schlossberg try to outdo themselves by making it even more raunchy (the “bottom-less” party is quite something) more offensive (the mongoloid cycloptic lovechild of hick incestuous parents) and more ridiculous (smoking out with President Bush?) than it should be. That simplicity of the original is lost. But don’t worry Guantanamo Bay isn’t a complete wash. You’ll still laugh plenty.
Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) shamelessly embody each of their nationalities' stereotypical characteristics. Harold is a hardworking professional eagerly trying to get ahead in the business world while Kumar is living under constant pressure from his parents to become a doctor. They deal with the stress by smoking a little something from Mary Jane's garden and on this particular Friday decide to seal the experience with "the perfect meal." Enticed by the White Castle burger joint commercials the duo decides to leave the confines of their hazy apartment to satisfy their TV-induced cravings for the little square burgers. In the tradition of Dude Where's My Car? their simple straightforward trek turns absurd as Harold and Kumar get robbed by Neil Patrick Harris (aka Doogie Howser M.D.) are arrested for jaywalking ride a cheetah that escaped from the zoo perform emergency surgery take out a ... well you get the picture. Do the pot smokers ever make it to White Castle and even more importantly was it worth it? That's for you to find out.
In the title roles Cho (American Pie) and Penn (Malibu's Most Wanted) elevate an otherwise average comedy to a higher level. Cho plays an introverted geek a yes man who aims to please everyone and thinks the only way to play is safe (he drives a Toyota). But even though he is frustratingly spineless we relate to him the most because let's face it there is a little Harold in all of us. Cho plays Harold straight up which makes the character more believable. Penn on the other hand is the carefree cool guy who doesn't fear consequences. Kumar for example goes through the motions of applying to med school so his father will continue to pay his rent but then purposely botches the interviews to draw out his free ride. Penn nails the role because he doesn't try to hard to be funny and the character is never obnoxious. Plus Cho and Penn have undeniable buddy chemistry and we believe for 87 minutes that they could be best friends off screen.
Director Danny Leiner who helmed the 2000 comedy Dude Where's My Car? has a lot of living up to do here and although he meets expectations he doesn't surpass them. The story penned by scribes Hayden Schlossberg and Jonathan Hurwitz follows the same formula as Dude but the gags aren't as innovative. Harold & Kumar does have some genuinely funny moments including a sing along in the car to Wilson Philips' "Hold On " and Leiner even pays homage to Dude in a scene in which Cho asks Harris "Dude where's my car?" But knee-slapping jokes are sandwiched between desperate toilette humor gags leaving Harold & Kumar unable to hold a lighter to Half Baked which six years ago set the standard for the stoner genre. The characters in Half Baked written by and starring Dave Chappelle didn't even have to peel themselves off the dingy couch to muster sidesplitting laughs. But come to think of it no matter how ridiculous the sight of Harold and Kumar riding a cheetah through the New Jersey backwoods is it's still sort of funny.