Neil Fox on film: American Pie Reunion, Safe, The Lucky One
The inevitability of this film is offset by the fact that it is actually funny and quite decent. More care has gone into imagining the lives of this iconic ‘90s movie gang 13 years on than you might have expected.
It takes a lot to not be bitter that it’s another sequel/cash-in/reboot but if you can – OK, if I can – it’s enjoyable in the company of a group of men who defined the return to crudity that was the mid to late ‘90s.
So all the original gang are back and are all older and, save for Stifler (Seann William Scott), mostly wiser.
The film sees the gang have a reunion in their home town, which gives them all a chance to see how each other has done in the intervening years. Cue the smugness, jealousy and hollowness that this ritual provides.
The most laughs come from Stifler and a rehashing of gags from the original movie, given a tragic tinge with the ages of the group now.
It’s also hard to not be sad knowing that save for Seann William Scott none of them ever did anything else as noteworthy as this. It imbues the whole thing with an interesting melancholy that offsets the near endless stream of boob-related gaffes and giggling.
You’ve sat there and thought: Wow, Jason Statham is the English Bruce Willis. Well now, thanks to this literal rip-off of Bruce’s underwhelming Mercury Rising your thoughts are realised.
Statham does as he always does, which is brood and smash heads. This time his cargo – because he does seem to spend most of his cinematic life carrying or protecting something – is a young girl who is the keeper of an important code.
Stath is an ex-cage fighter who protects her from Triads, Russians, corrupt Americans and everything else, conveniently getting the chance to avenge the destruction of his life by the said Russkie rascals.
It’s nonsense, Ronseal film-making, but once again it manages to entertain because in Statham it has an action star who always gets down and dirty and delivers the goods.
The Lucky One
The latest adaptation from the mawkish, soulless literary stable of Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook) is another exploitative masterwork of schmaltz.
This time Zac Efron plays the world’s most unbelievable soldier who returns from Iraq and searches for the girl he believes was his good luck charm during battle.
The volume of clichés churned out in pursuit of this story is actually admirable in a perverse way.
Here’s an idea. It’s radical so bear with me. Instead of trying to find the next big gimmick for horror movies, why not, and I know this is going to sound insane, make them scarier? I know. Madness.
It seems the quest in modern horror is to find an original way of telling a story, rather than the right way, or the scariest way. Here, a girl (Elizabeth Olsen) is terrorised in an old house. In real time. Yawn.