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 American Wedding
 Critic's Rating
   [C]
 Date Posted
   29th November, 2003
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Cast: Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Eugene Levy
Director: Jesse Dylan

Four years after the original American Pie rejuvenated the teen sex comedy genre of the eighties in all it's raunchy glory, I wasn't quite sure if I had room for a third (and hopefully final) slice. This installment christened American Wedding deals with the events leading up to the wedding of Jim Levinstein (Jason Biggs) and Michelle Flaherty (Alyson Hannigan). The pre-marriage preparations involving their families and Jim's high school buddies triggers a series of mishaps with the eccentric Stifler (Sean William Scott) leading proceedings. Throw in some eye-candy, recycled humor, slack screenplay, a flaccid attempt at emotionality, a new pop-punk soundtrack and the latest serving isn't quite an appetizing prospect.

Novice director Jesse Dylan (son of legendary musician/song-writer Bob Dylan) sets up the premise with the usual calamitous and crude theme with prevailed through the series. Jim repeatedly ends up in the most awkward positions, Michelle still delivers an essence of her nymphomaniacal attitude and Stifler remains the most pervasively vulgar (and idiotic) character on screen. Everything seems nice and rosy but the tastelessness catches up rather too quickly. Most of the jokes wore out with the last sequel and the shoddy screenplay does little to mask the increasingly stale state of affairs.

The energetic performance of the "Stifmeister" makes the much underrated Scott the only saving grace of a sequel which never had depth to explore in the first place. He unsurprisingly runs the show in his extended role and is at the heart of the movie's genuinely hilarious moments (whenever we have any). His incessantly offensive attitude perfectly compliments the devilish grin. With his nice-guy impression thrown in to lure Michelle's sister, he provides another dimension to his immature character. The eventual banality of proceedings doesn't quite spare him either and the laughter factor soon turns mechanical.

Even the quirkiness associated with Jim's dad, such an amusing element of the original, is now replaced by a rather worn-out effort by Eugene Levy. The other notable members of the original cast Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) hardly provide anything worthwhile with Nicholas' character in particular who is quite literally of zero importance. The absence of the film's original female cast is compensated with the introduction of Michelle's sister Cadence played in the usual pedestrian manner by January Jones. A couple of S&M strippers are also brought into proceedings to ensure that the franchise "oomph" factor isn't missing. The attempt at drawing the audience into an emotional strain is laughable at best with a special mention reserved for the awful "Dead flowers" scene. Jennifer Coolidge returns as Stifler's mom even though the gag has become more than just out-dated. Fortunately enough, her role is confined to the closing bit and becomes as inconsequential as everything else. All things considered, American Wedding turns out to be a montage of failed comedic set-pieces accompanied by a predominantly uninspired storyline and equally inept acting.  

But then, this isn't the type of movie to be taken seriously at all. It's quite obvious that the advocates of the franchise are the ones who have a great time enjoying the lame humor thrown their way. The ordinary dialogue employed, totally devoid of wit or creativity is evident of the audience targeted. Even though the script is littered with one-dimensional characters (barring Stifler) that don't serve much purpose in terms of interest, it remains adequately equipped in setting up the grossed out scenarios that the shallow minded teenage audiences crave. In this respect, American Wedding proves to be a fitting climax to the trilogy for the hordes of fans. And sure enough, it has done some fantastic business at the box office already.

At the end of it all, if you're a fan of the series, this latest episode will have you longing for more. Turn off the brain power; forget the IQ level and you'll have a hysterical ninety minutes to look forward to. However, if you're on the lookout for some serious comedy, American Wedding is far from being one. - Snider Rodrigues

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