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   AMERICAN WEDDING (2003) 

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CAST
Jason Biggs
Seann William Scott
Alyson Hannigan
Eddie Kaye Thomas
Thomas Ian Nicholas
January Jones
Eugene Levy
Deborah Rush
Fred Willard

DIRECTED BY
Jesse Dylan

PURCHASE


DVD



Soundtrack



DVD




Time: 96 mins.
Rating: R
Official Website
Genre: Comedy


Those who wish to be entertained by their friends from AMERICAN PIE would be better served re-watching the original or even the sequel rather than this obviously tired and, thankfully, final installment. Since the obvious next step in life after graduation is marriage, screenwriter Adam Herz uses this milestone as the reason to bring the cast together for one last hurrah. Unfortunately, the usual sexual misadventures of Jim (Biggs) and his comrades Finch (Thomas) and Kevin (Nicholas) are shoved onto the backburner in order to present the crude antics of everyone's "favorite" potty-mouthed pervert Steven Stifler (Scott). The wedding is a mere device to drive the film forward and give the characters something to do, but actual ceremony carries not one ounce of emotional weight.

The story merely goes through the motions, forcing Jim and Michelle (Hannigan) to share a future together for the sake of their past, since we certainly learn nothing about why they're still together after all these years. Jim character is the only one of the group who would even contemplate getting married, so they brought Hannigan back to be the bride. What sucks is that they don't use her talent at all. It's her quirky mixture of sweet and kinky that gave the second film some of its' best laughs. Never has the bride been more unnecessary to a wedding story than Hannigan is here. Hell, January Jones (who plays Michelle's younger sister) and the bachelor party strippers have more screen time than Hannigan, which only adds insult to injury.

I know this series has always been about the boys, but this film suffers from too much Stifler and not enough Jim. Stifler may be the spice, but Jim is the heart and soul of this franchise. Herz clearly decided to indulge his Id, which leaves a giant hole in the middle of this film since there's really only so much gross out humor one can take. The wedding planning actually takes a back seat to Stifler's ongoing attempt to get into little sis's pants. His competition with Finch for her affections is not at all funny or believable – they sort of switch personalities – but at least it gives Eddie Kaye Thomas something to do.


"Wow, Steve Stifler just gave a rose to a girl and meant it. It's like, monkeys learning to use tools for the first time."

Unlike Thomas Ian Nicholas who might as well have slept through his scenes for all the impact he makes on this film. In fact, I think the dogs (pets of Michelle's parents) have more screen time and better jokes than he does. I guess the big check and hanging out with half-naked strippers was enough justification for his time. I have to say that it's refreshing to see at least one former cast member, Chris Klein, chose his own dignity over a chance for quick cash. However, his low-key demeanor and sweet sexiness is sorely missed.

There's just no balance to Stifler's constant crudeness, which failed to illicit even a single chuckle. There's nothing we haven't seen before and even Herz's attempts to push the gross out envelope fail to shock since there's clearly nothing Stifler won't do for a quick bang. Perhaps some pre-wedding problems between the couple – an embarrassing visit to a marriage counselor or family priest – would have helped to balance out all the foul language, pubic hair jokes and granny groping. As funny as Fred Willard and Deborah Rush are as Michelle's skeptical parents, their scenes lack any real bite and are somewhat awkward since Michelle is almost never around.

Don't you think a nervous bride-to-be would try to help her fiancé win over her parents? Though now that I think about it, maybe Hannigan did the right thing by being absent throughout most of the film. At least she doesn't do anything she'll be ashamed of later. Jim's troubles with his in-laws give him ample opportunities to embarrass himself, yet it's highly unlikely that they'd never met before this point considering the length of his and Michelle's relationship. Another hole in the plot Herz blatantly ignores for the sake of conflict and "comedy." Levy is sorely underused yet again, though his heart to heart talks with both Jim and Michelle prove to be some of the film's only shining moments.

The third time is definitely not the charm, a component WEDDING sorely lacks. It's a film that focuses on boobs and banality without even a hint of cleverness or character development. In fact, it turns everyone into cardboard cutouts of their former selves, leaving one with only one burning desire – to purge the experience from your brain ASAP. Thankfully, nothing truly memorable happens, so forgetting this film should be a piece of cake. I doubt even fans will find much to laugh about. Those intrigued by the "extended" bachelor party sequence beware. It's not remotely raunchy orfunny unless you consider naked breasts and playful sexual subjugation entertaining. Wow, nudity and spanking, how shocking. Herz and company were clearly scraping the bottom of the comedy barrel and I for one am glad the series is finally put to rest. If you're out of the MTV age bracket, heed my advice and avoid this film like you would a date with Stifler. Nothing pleasurable will come out of the experience.


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