‘American Wedding’: This pie’s getting staleAfter they made the first “American Pie” movie, the cast and crew were faced with a conundrum. There was no way they could not make a sequel, but on the other hand, there was really no way they could make a good one.
All the crass mishaps involving tube socks, frothy beers and, of course, apple pie were somehow believeable within the realm of horny high school boys. The movie made audiences squirm and laugh, perhaps at the familiarity of the characters’ cluelessness.
The second time around was set only a year later, during the gang’s first summer after college, and although it was apparent that writer Adam Herz was starting to stretch for seriously off-the-wall gross-out material, the movie still provided an all-American slice of mindless entertainment, appropriate for giddy college students.
The third installation, set three years later, opens in typical “American Pie” fashion with Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) slipping under the table in a fancy restaurant to spice up her relationship with Jim (Jason Biggs), while Jim’s dad (Eugene Levy in another charmingly riotous performance) shows up to give his son the engagement ring he’d forgotten at home. The rest of the movie is loosely draped around planning the wedding, meeting the parents and trying to get rid of Steve Stifler (Seann William Scott), who has invited himself to the party.
Though scripts have never been a strong point in the “Pie” series, Herz still disappoints, with filler dialogue (for those moments in between shaving pubic hair and eating dog feces) that is so bad that poor, stressed-out Jim can’t stop stuttering his lines, and painfully irritating Stifler can’t stop screaming his. Moreover, nearly half the original characters, including Oz, Heather, Nadia and Vicky, are no-shows, an unfortunate detriment to the cohesiveness of the cast.
The film might have worked had it been allowed to be the sketch comedy it wants to be. It’s as if Herz came up with as many shockingly disgusting scenes as possible, then taped them together with Band-Aids. Nonetheless, there are some good moments, unexectedly involving Stifler.
At one point, we get to see him giving Jim formal dancing lessons in exchange for the rights to plan the bachelor party. In another scene Stifler unintentionally finds himself in a nightclub for gay men, and in confronting them is ridiculed for his sophmoric attitude. Not to be outdone, he comes back to prove he’s got style by rocking out to “Maniac.” The ensuing dance-off between Stifler and Bear (Eric Allen Kramer) is the highlight of the movie.
In the end, “American Wedding” manages to be heartwarming despite itself, something that’s common to all three of these movies. Let’s just hope this is the last one.
by Kirsten Jerch