American Wedding Review

by Shannon Patrick Sullivan (shannon AT morgan DOT ucs DOT mun DOT ca)
August 15th, 2003

AMERICAN WEDDING (2003) / ***

Directed by Jesse Dylan. Screenplay by Adam Herz, based on characters created by Herz. Starring Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Seann William Scott. Running time: 102 minutes. Rated AA for coarse language by the MFCB. Reviewed on August 14th, 2003.

By SHANNON PATRICK SULLIVAN

Synopsis: When Jim (Biggs) asks Michelle (Hannigan) to marry him, mayhem ensues. Stifler (Scott), annoyed at not receiving an invitation, tries to inveigle himself into the wedding anyway by conning Michelle's sister, Cadence (January Jones), into falling for him. But Jim's erudite friend Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) -- a groomsman along with Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) -- is also eager to woo Cadence. It's left to Jim's dad (Eugene Levy) to be the voice of reason once again.

Review: After a superior debut in 1999, the "American Pie" franchise stumbled somewhat with the 2001 sequel, which was disappointingly redundant. Fortunately, "American Wedding" reverses that trend somewhat. Although it's not the breath of anarchic fresh air that was the original film, it at least manages to take the series in a more interesting direction. Key to this success is the decision to pair down the number of returning characters in "Wedding"; gone are franchise mainstays like Shannon Elizabeth and Tara Reid, many of whom were flailing about for a purpose in "Pie 2". The result is a more substantial role for those who have stuck around, with only Nicholas' Kevin still left searching for a reason to exist (or a personality). The down side is that the filmmakers have chosen to devote much of the extra spotlight to Stifler, a character who was great in small doses in the first "Pie" but whose loathsomeness has increased in concert with his screentime in the sequels. It's a shame that this attention wasn't instead given to Hannigan or Levy, both of whom continue to steal every scene they're in. Of the other major players, Biggs and Thomas offer more of what we've come to expect from their characters, but Jones is somewhat disappointing as the attractive -- and curiously named -- but otherwise rather ordinary Cadence.

Copyright 2003 Shannon Patrick Sullivan.
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