Reel Critics: Attending an 'American Reunion'

"American Pie" was in the forefront of raunchy teen comedies of the late 1990s. Much of the original cast has been assembled again to appear in the latest R-rated sequel,"American Reunion."

The bad boy players are older and somewhat wiser. But they're still ready to party and get in loads of embarrassing trouble.

Jason Biggs teams up with Chris Klein and Seann William Scott to reprise their wild roles from the past. But they're now in their 30s, living various themes of middle-class and middle-aged life. When they decide to attend their high school reunion, they come face to face with the choices they made over the years.

Most of the laughs come from their interaction with the current generation of rowdy teenagers. The older dudes find they can no longer keep up with the new kids on the block. The youngsters are the real party animals, and the old guys are wannabes with better things they should be doing.

But Eugene Levy steals the show as the awkward dad from the original film. His geeky advice is often hilarious. Amid the nudity and vulgar scenes, he anchors the raucous homecoming of the boys.


Going down with a sinking ship — in 3-D

The sinking of the Titanic 100 years ago has been brought to the big screen several times, but never bigger than in James Cameron's"Titanic" in 1997.

Is it worth revisiting again in 3-D? Perhaps, I thought, they'll spot that iceberg sooner.

Fifteen years ago, I shared gasps with the crowd at the special effects and attention to detail and costumes. I even spilled tears when Celine Dion sang over the ending credits.

But the love story between Rose and Jack (Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio) is still a mismatch, and the melodramatic, contemporary slant detracts from the real plight of the 2,223 passengers on that fateful April night in 1912.

The 3-D conversion is technically proficient but adds little value.

It doesn't enhance my experience to feel like someone is bobbing in the water mere inches from my face.

It didn't change the fact that Leo looked about 12 years old when he proclaimed himself "King of the World," or that Billy Zane's over-waxed brows never moved when, as Rose's obsessive fiancé, he absurdly sought vengeance in freezing waist-high water.

But that's just me. I think "Titanic" is best when it focuses on people facing the depths of panic and despair and, in this post-9/11world, that heartbreak endures.

JOHN DEPKO is a retired senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office. He lives in Costa Mesa and works as a licensed private investigator.

SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa and is an executive assistant for a company in Irvine.

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