American Wedding Movie Review

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That wacky American Pie crew is back -- er, a handful of them, anyway -- for a lackluster third and undoubtedly final outing with sex, pie, and ice cream. Okay, there's no pie or ice cream.

Picking up three years after American Pie 2, we find pastry-loving Jim (Jason Biggs) and band-camper Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) graduating from college and still in love. A wedding is deemed in order, which brings back Jim's pals Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), and Stifler (Seann William Scott) to plan the blessed event. Of course, any married man knows that no wedding in history has ever been organized by three hapless guys, and when the crew drives three hours to Chicago to buy Michelle a wedding dress (huh!?) you know we're in for an old-fashioned round of Spot the Plot Device.

The complications in the nuptials are as perfunctory as they come: sick Jewish grandma doesn't want Jim to marry a goyim, wedding night jitters, dead flowers, in-law troubles, etc. Never mind that it doesn't make sense (in three years, Jim has never met Michelle's parents!?); this is all just a platform for a whole lot of dick jokes, interrupted only to bring us more dick jokes. From an episode with Jim shaving his nether regions to Stifler's sexed-up obsession with Michele's sister Cadence (January Jones), those wanting more of the raucous humor of the first two films will be moderately pleased.

The downside is that American Wedding just doesn't measure up to its predecessors. It's just not nearly as funny, though one scene involving Stifler and (yet another) substance not made for human consumption had me in tears. The obligatory bachelor party is also a riot, as it naturally goes disastrously bad.

Sometimes juvenile humor is just the ticket, but here it becomes so much overkill that Stifler's umpteen sex jokes eventually start to wear thin. A bigger problem is that Jim, Finch, and Kevin have all been watered down into predictable guys, none of them offering any surprises for us. Poor Hannigan has to take her once riotous supporting character and reinvent the dopey nympho geek as a lead role, which becomes rough when she has to play nervous and/or sad, emotions never envisioned for poor Michelle when she was conceived. Her parents (including dad Fred Willard) might have lent some insight into her flute-loving persona (as Eugene Levy builds upon Jim's character), but ultimately they're portrayed as standard in-law types.

The upshot is that you'll chuckle from time to time, but long stretches of Wedding drag as it spends countless minutes prepping for the next big joke. I can't really recommend the film, but if you do see it, you at least won't hate yourself afterward.

Finally, let's all speculate what has become of the no-shows at the wedding, including Mena Suvari, Tara Reid, Shannon Elizabeth, Natasha Lyonne, and Chris Klein. Are these kids' stars too big to appear in this film? With movies like The Musketeer, Van Wilder, and Rollerball among them, all of these actors could use a hit, badly. American Wedding may not be a great comedy, but hey, it ain't no Gigli.

My dream wedding, for sure.

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American Wedding Rating

" OK "

Rating: R, 2003


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