'American Reunion': Solid Sequel No Match for Franchise Burnout

'American Reunion': Solid Sequel No Match for Franchise Burnout

“American Reunion” was funnier than anyone had a right to expect, but movie goers refused to give it a fair shake.

The third “American” feature, “American Wedding,” hauled in $104 million back in 2003, while “Reunion” could only summon $56 million earlier this year.

Franchise burnout had long ago set in, apparently, and it didn’t help that a gaggle of weak, direct-to-DVD sequels preceded “Reunion.” That’s what happens when you wait nearly a decade between movie installments, and your last film squandered much of the good will earned by the franchise-starting original.

Still, audiences can give “Reunion” a second chance when it hits Blu-ray/DVD today. The comedy reunites all the major players from the original film series, from the nebbishy Jim (Jason Biggs) to the walking, talking Id known as Stifler (Seann William Scott).

The fourth film comes from the team who gave us “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle,” another franchise with a serious case of audience apathy. But said duo – Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Scholssberg – summon the spirit of the original while dealing in some relatable issues about growing older – if not wiser.

Stifler does wear an “Orgasm Donor” shirt, after all.

Nostalgia remains a fickle thing. Some pop culture reunions arrive too soon, and we haven’t really started missing the concepts in play. That may have been the case with the “Pie” series, especially since we can always watch the original trilogy on cable and streaming devices.

The Blu-ray “Reunion” features a crush of extras, from the standard deleted/extended scenes to a gag reel that puts into question whether Scott can keep a straight face long enough to get one good take done.

“Dancing with the Oz” breaks down the work Chris Klein put in to bring his “Dancing with the Stars”-style subplot into motion.

“You can feel the love they have for these characters,” Biggs says of the new creative team during the making-of featurette. For once, an “American” franchise actor isn’t using a double entendre.

The “Out of Control” track featured cast members literally popping in the frame while the movie plays to add a gag, an insight or something else “American” worthy.

Follow Christian Toto on Twitter @TotoMovies