American Wedding Review

by Terri Clark (TerriClark4 AT aol DOT com)
August 18th, 2003

Say I Don't to American Wedding
West Life News (8/13/03)
Review by: Terri Clark

The thing about weddings is they take a long time to plan and something inevitably goes wrong. Once it's over you tend to forget most of what happened,
but if you're lucky you'll have a few good memories. And that sums up "American
Wedding," the third, and supposedly final, installment in the "American Pie" trilogy.

When Jim Levinstein (Jason Biggs) proposes to his band camp girlfriend, Michelle Flaherty (Alyson Hannigan), he vows to give her the wedding of her dreams. Chances of that happening seem highly unlikely when Steve Stiffler (Seann William Scott) shows up and kinky chaos ensues.

Make no mistake, although the story revolves around Jim and Michelle's wedding plans the film belongs to the Stiffmeister. After meeting the bride-to-be's refined sister Cadence (January Jones), the foul-mouthed football coach dons Izod and argyle and tries to seduce her with preppy pleasantries. An equally smitten Paul Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) learns she prefers men who are little less cultivated so he attempts to win her favor by acting as vulgar as Stiffler
usually does. Unfortunately Thomas is never given the opportunity to fully embrace this clever personality switch, but Scott is hilarious as he jockey's between nice and nasty.

Of course, the piece de resistance to any Pie is its groan-worthy gross outs and sexploits and "American Wedding" does offer a few memorable moments. Jim gives new meaning to the term groom and Stiffler will have you thinking twice before you touch another truffle.

Where "American Wedding" falters is at the altar. As the film moves toward the I Do's, crass comedy is replaced with sappy sentiment. Excise humor, implant heart.

It doesn't work here.

Just as Steve Stiffler was never meant to be saccharin, neither was one of these films. Fans are liable to be disappointed by the mature makeover. It doesn't help that several original cast members (Chris Klein, Mena Suvari, Tara
Reid and Natasha Lyonne) are inexplicably absent. Even the superb addition of Fred Willard as Michelle's dad is a disappointment. Neither Willard, nor favorite father Eugene Levy, is given good material to work with. Perhaps Cadence said it best when explaining her desire for a bad boy, "Sometimes nice isn't too nice."

"American Wedding" is an unbalanced confection of sweet romantic comedy and raunchy romp. There's nothing better than that first piece of Pie. If you're going to be a glutton and go for three helpings, wait for "American Wedding" to
hit video. Some vows just aren't worth taking.


Title: American Wedding

Grade: C

Rating: R for sexual content, language and crude humor.

Distributor: Universal Pictures

Director: Jesse Dylan

Screenplay: Adam Herz

Cast: Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Sean William Scott, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Eugene Levy

Time: 102 min

Genre: Comedy

Terri Clark ([email protected]) is a freelance movie critic. She writes reviews for West Life News, and the Apollo Guide.

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