Saturday, January 12, 2008

Review: American Wedding

It's the first time I've rewatched American Wedding since I saw it in theaters back in 2003. I was pretty disappointed in this movie back then. The original American Pie is one of my favorite movies ever and Pie 2 was nowhere near as good as the first one. Knowing half of the original cast wouldn't even appear in Wedding, I had low expectations so how could I still be disappointed?

In American Wedding, Jim (Jason Biggs) proposes to Michelle (Alyson Hannigan). What's left of the original gang (read: Finch and Kevin) prepares for the wedding. Stifler, however, is not invited, but somehow manages to get involved.

Okay, so it's not as bad as I remembered it. BUT, it's still not that good either. The things that annoyed me when I first saw it, still annoyed me the second time around.

1) The absence of the original cast members. Yes, I miss Vicky, Heather, Oz, Jessica, Nadia, even Sherman and Stifler's little brother. I know there's no need to have most of these characters in this movie, as they are not friends of Jim and/or Michelle (except Oz). Yet, this is an American Pie film, and they are part of what made the original so great. I especially missed Oz, and this comes from someone who cannot stand Chris Klein (though he was pretty good in Just Friends). It would have bugged me less if they would have at least addressed his absence with a throwaway line like "It's a shame Oz couldn't be here because he recently moved to Australia for his new job and couldn't take time off."

2) You'd think the writers would spend time developing the remaining characters, yet Thomas Ian Nicholas's Kevin is completely underwritten. It's nothing more than a glorified cameo. Poor Thomas deserves so much better than that. Kevin was one of my favorite characters in Pie, and, along with Tara Reid's Vicky, the heart and soul of the original movie. In Wedding, he maybe has ten lines. I keep waiting for him to say something, but it rarely happens.

3) Stifler is an ass in all three movies, but I found him incredibly unlikable (except for the end) and unfunny in this one. Stifler was another fave character of mine, though after watching Wedding, I have trouble remembering why. Seann William Scott is a good actor, but he is overacting here and it gets tiring.

4) January Jones as Michelle's sister Cadence. She is incredibly bland in everything I've ever seen her in.

5) The gross-out humor is way overboard here. Stifler eats poo. Need I say more?

Of course, there are some good things about this film. Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Eugene Levy are all very good here (Thomas Ian Nicholas has always been good, but he's barely in this) and I really liked watching their characters progress throughout the films. I think they should've made a TV show spin-off at some point. It could have worked with good writers. The ones who did "Off Centre" spring to mind; that sitcom was created by the Weitz brothers (who directed Pie), starred Pie-regulars Eddie Kaye Thomas and John Cho, and featured guest appearances by Levy, Biggs and Shannon Elizabeth. And it was genuinely funny. CHAU RULES!

I liked that there was more heart in Wedding than there was in Pie 2. I loved the original Pie for combining gross-out with heart, but the latter incredibly lacked in the sequel. In Wedding, there are some sweet moments, like the wedding itself and Jim making sure Michelle gets the dress of her dreams. Those things and the cameos by John Cho and Jennifer Coolidge do make this last installment of the American Pie trilogy (I don't count those other "Pie" movies like Band Camp) worth watching. I would love to see American Pie: the Reunion though! A 3/5.

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