a critiQal film review American Wedding (2003)

Plot: Jim (Biggs), Michelle (Hannigan), Kevin (Nicholas), Finch (Thomas) and Stifler (Scott) are back in this third and final installment of the American Pie series. This time around, Jim has finally popped the question to Michelle. With Kevin and Finch helping out, Jim does everything he can to try and make the wedding perfect.

641 words (Est. Reading Time 3m 12s)
  • ...more of the same shenanigans and hijinks viewers have come to expect from this series - although a few cast members are notably absent.

Anyone who’s familiar with the American Pie (1999) series already knew what was coming when they announced that a third film, American Wedding, was in the works. Full of sometimes disgusting (and usually sexual) scenes that embarrass the main character Jim, the first two films ended up producing loads of laughs, and, in the end, showed they did have true heart as well.

While American Pie 2 (2001) tended toward the more disgusting and seemed a bit thrown together, it still pulled itself together in the end. Would the third film degenerate further along this path, or would the crew be able to pull together and make the final film as memorable as the first?

A good amount of the cast are back for this third installment, with a few noticeable exceptions. Chris Klein (Oz), Mena Suvari (Heather), Tara Reid (Vicky) and Shannon Elizabeth (Nadia) are all absent in this film, with Chris and Mena the most noticeable. While Vicky and Nadia’s absences could be explained away, why aren’t Chris and Mena around? The film never touches on this, and that seems to highlight their absence so much more.

The other characters you remember from the first two films are back, however, and they are able to carry the movie themselves. Jason Biggs (Jim) and Seann William Scott (Stifler) show how easily they can slip back into these characters, and they really seem to enjoy recreating these roles. Alyson Hannigan (Michelle), Eddie Kaye Thomas (Finch) and Thomas Ian Nicholas (Kevin) are delegated to basic window dressing in the film, with newcomer January Jones (Michelle’s sister Cadence) taking up the rest of the limelight. The newcomer seems a little less at ease in her character than the old-timers are, but still manages to fit in nicely.

The plot seems only natural, as marriage seems the “next step” for this merry band of misfits. The scenes, unfortunately, don’t flow together as well as the first two films seemed to. In fact, the film seems almost to give the viewer a feeling that these were the scenes that didn’t make it into the first two films. It’s odd, since the situations are different, but that’s the feeling one gets while watching this film.

That’s not entirely bad, however, as most of the scenes are quite comical. There is one scene that does fall into the entirely too disgusting category, and you may want to fast forward through that, but the rest are quite funny. The scenes are just what you would expect after seeing the first two films – full of sexually crude ideas mixed with an almost purity to the guys that seems untarnished no matter what they go through.

It’s this purity, or innocence of the characters that have tied these films together. This innocence of youth, be it while they are waiting for prom, their first big summer away from home, or getting ready for a wedding, has made these characters so lovable throughout this film series. Everyone can remember the innocence of youth, and these characters showcase that with amazing clarity.

All in all, American Wedding seems to be the perfect conclusion to this zany trilogy. It’s unfortunate the entire cast couldn’t have been reunited for this finale, but I guess that’s just the way it goes. I’m not sure if it was because their schedules were too full, or if writer Adam Herz just didn’t write them into the script. Hopefully it was the former, as it would have been stupid for Adam not to try to reunite the whole cast.

Final advice? If you liked American Pie (1999) and American Pie 2 (2001), you’ll enjoy American Wedding. If you didn’t like the first two, nothing’s really different in the third film, so don’t even bother.

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