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American Wedding   B-

Universal Pictures

Year Released: 2003
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Jesse Dylan
Writer: Adam Herz
Cast: Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, Alyson Hannigan, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Thomas Ian Nicholas, January Jones, Eugene Levy, Molly Cheek, Deborah Rush, Fred Willard.

Review by Sean O'Connell

A third helping of any flavor of pie -- especially the randy American Pie -- suggests one of two things. Either the dessert is so delicious, it's practically irresistible. I'm talking "get up out of bed at 3 a.m. and walk down to the kitchen to cut yourself a slice" delicious. Or, you're a gluttonous pig.

In the case of American Wedding, it's the latter. Greedy Universal Studios is out for more cash, leaving us with enough shamelessly disgusting gags to fill the third installment of the proud-to-be-juvenile American Pie franchise.

Wedding starts with a proposal but segues immediately into two elaborate pants-around-the-ankles jokes. The wedding bells are ringing for Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan). Before they can walk down the aisle, though, the families must meet, the reception must be arranged, and Stifler (Seann William Scott) needs to plan a bachelor party fit for a court jester.

Basically Wedding conjures up inventive ways to humiliate Biggs, the stammering ringmaster to this perverted three-ring circus. Instead of bulking up Michelle's role, the film sticks with Stifler, a character that somehow manages to grow viler from film to film. Scott plays him like a vulgar Jim Carrey, a festering sore of a personality in desperate need for a filter on his mouth. With Stifler in the spotlight, there's little room for anyone else, though Wedding returns Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), and introduces Michelle's younger sister, Cadence (January Jones).

The kids still can't hold a candle to the adult leads. Eugene Levy's reprisal of Jim's dad is appreciated, and he's joined by partner-in-comedy Fred Willard as Michelle's father. American Wedding tastes that much better whenever these seasoned vets grace the screen.

Everything else is in humorously bad taste. We get a male dance-off in a gay nightclub, a pungent feast for Stifler, and a rendezvous in a janitor's closet that should have AARP up in arms. Nothing is off limits here, and you'll cringe as many times as you'll cackle.

We didn't need a third American Pie, but you'll still get a few laughs out of it. Director Jesse Dylan (How High), a newcomer to the Pie universe, maintains the series' trademark adolescent vibe. In only his second film, Dylan already figures out how to adequately sidestep brief lags in pace. You won't have to fidget too long between amateur antics.

Review published 07.30.2003.

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