Monday, April 9, 2012

Reunited with a Crush

In 2001, I had a crush on Alyson Hannigan because of American Pie 2, and saw it seven more times that summer. Last Saturday, which turned into a few errands rather that pushed our Passover dinner to Sunday, I went to see American Reunion at Edwards Canyon Country 10 while Mom, Dadm and Meridith went on those errands. It was the first time in such a short span of time that I saw two movies at the only two theaters in this valley. Mamma Mia! comes closest to that, even though we saw it at that same Canyon Country theater. We saw it one day and then went back the next day to see it again.

The same feelings I had about Alyson Hannigan, or at least her role as Michelle Flaherty (now Flaherty-Levenstein after American Wedding), welled up again while I watched this fourth installment in the series. Whereas Michelle had an unabashed quirkiness in American Pie 2, it's matured into a subtle, understated quirkiness, since she's a mom now. It's still very attractive to me, and Hannigan still has the talent of attracting much sympathy, this time for Michelle's marriage problems with Jim. Oh, I feel for Jim too, but considering that he's married to Michelle, why the hell does Kara, his former babysitting charge, matter in the least? Yet, this is what the plot hinges on, so we must watch. I didn't mind it though because American Reunion lifts the franchise up from the problematic American Wedding. The gross-out humor is here again, yet done with, ironically, more grace.

And good god, the number of times I wanted to be with Michelle while watching American Pie 2 zoomed past millions. It was still in the millions during American Reunion, but times have changed not only for these characters, but also for me: I can't see this one seven times because I can't afford these damn ticket prices all the time! I paid $9.50 to see this at a 4:15 p.m. showing. At the time of American Pie 2, I think I paid $4 or $4.50. And the movie industry wonders why box office totals drop off after the first weekend.


  1. Gross-out humor done with grace? I think that's an oxymoron. I'll have to Google this young lady to see if she's worthy of our Rory.


  2. It's a rare thing, since most filmmakers go overboard with it.

  3. I've never seen any of the movies in the series... is it safe to say you'd recommend them? Have you done (or do you plan on doing) DVD reviews of any of them?

  4. No. The DVDs of the first three movies (ignore the direct-to-DVD movies because those were a waste and only served to keep the American Pie brand active) have long been in circulation, and so I see no reason to review them.

    I heartily recommend them. They're all funny, and have the continued benefit of Eugene Levy as Jim's dad, with Fred Willard appearing as Michelle's dad in American Wedding. Any movies that gather together members of the Christopher Guest troupe (including Jennifer Coolidge as Stifler's mom) are good by me.

    In his review of American Wedding, Ebert says something very true about that movie and the franchise up to that point, which happily carries over into American Reunion:

    "The secret is that it loves its characters, too. Most raunchy comedies despise their characters, who are stupid, crude, shallow and vulgar. "American Wedding" wants only happiness for Jim and Michelle on their wedding day, loves their parents just for being who they are, and sees that even Stifler has a rudimentary heart, and wants to be loved."

    American Wedding has a few problems (it's the only one of the franchise that I saw just once), but every single installment is funny.

    1. Quit talking to him more than you talk to me. Jealousy, thy name is Janie.

    2. I'm equitable toward everyone. It's just that some comments merit more of a response. Besides, there's not much I could do about Alyson Hannigan. I never had a shot anyway. I was 17 in 2001, while she was 27. And I don't have an overall crush on Hannigan. I've seen one or two episodes of How I Met Your Mother, and watched a bit of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that summer in 2001 because of American Pie 2, but I came to realize that my crush is on that type of woman Hannigan played in those movies. I love that kind of quirkiness.