American Wedding Review

by Homer Yen (homer_yen AT yahoo DOT com)
August 4th, 2003

"American Wedding" - Comedic Bliss

There's nothing more beautiful and warming as a wedding. Add in a pristine cliff top site, best friends that come together, and decorum worthy of a presidential inauguration, and you'll have a day that will be unforgettable. But what may be even more unforgettable are the struggles to make that magical day happen.

Following in the hilarious footsteps of the two previous "American Pie" films is this latest coming-of-age comedy. "American Wedding" continues the funny misadventures of Jim (Jason Biggs), our lovable but sometimes hapless hero. After dating his oddball sweetheart, Michelle (Alyson Hanigan) for some time, he fees ready to propose while dining at an elegant restaurant. But it's a long journey from his dining room table to the wedding alter. In fact, in a funny opening sequence that sets the stage for future ribald antics, Jim barely manages to get out of his seat to propose. Well, you have to see it to understand that reference.

It's nice to see most of the "American" gang re-unite, although there are some notable characters that are missing here, including Shannon Elizabeth, Mena Suvari, Chris Klein, and Tara Reid. For us who have seen the other two films, coming to this one is like being a part of a goofy family reunion. But even if you overlooked both "Pie" films, the silly situations that Jim somehow falls into will surely produce a couple of laughs.

Yet, the overall level of comedy and energy doesn't seem as robust as the first two films. It's not that the potential for hilarity isn't there. There is a brilliant scene involving a bachelor's party at the home of the bride's parents. The participants erroneously believe that the mom and dad aren't going to be home that night. The ensuing mayhem is the highlight of the film.

The film is buoyed by the boyish nervousness of our groom. You kind of feel that he could be struck by lightning at any moment. He has that underdog persona that you want to root for. Meanwhile, I still say "Hail Stifler!" for his (Seann William Scott) frat boy enthusiasm. Or, perhaps he just has something stuck up his you-know-what. He's the engine that mercilessly puts the gang on a collision course with disaster. Crude, rude and libidinous, no scheme or practical joke is too demented for him.
Oddly, the rest of the cast seems to be a bit subdued. There are too few opportunities for them to get involved. And it seemed that if Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) were written out of the script, no one would really even notice. In the end, after the preparations are completed and after the vows are exchanged, you'll find that the experience was somewhat uneven although still a happy occasion. I'm looking forward to seeing them reunite again in what would probably be called "American Family."

Grade: B

S: 3 out of 3
L: 3 out of 3
V: 0 out of 3

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