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"American Wedding"

Directed by Jesse Dylan.
Written by Adam Herz.
Starring Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott and Eugene Levy.
Release Year:  2003 
Review Date:  8/8/03


After my friend “Melissa” Kern and I walked out of the theater following our viewing of the third “American Pie” film, “American Wedding”, I was obsessing over all of the trilogies I have seen to date.  Why?  I was trying to think of another film series that relied so heavily on a single character to provide its entertainment like this series has...because, just like the blah “American Pie 2”, “American Wedding” is only watchable because of one actor:  Seann William Scott.

His Stifler is one of the great comedic characters maybe ever; his lines are sometimes quite funny, but Scott’s physical performance is the absolute singular reason to see “American Wedding.”  Really, he has put these three films on his back in a way not seen since Jordan was leading the Bulls to all of those titles; I wondered if the cast and crew of “American Wedding” thought during production

“Man, without this Stifler character, we don’t have shit here.”

because it’s true!!  “American Wedding” features an initial 15 minutes where I thought I might have to get up and leave.  I mean, it is THAT boring.  Then, Stifler shows up at a reception for newly-engaged partners Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) and starts to give the film a little life, even if his first few laughs are courtesy of the film’s trailer.  But, by the time the guys have to travel to Chicago to a gay club, oh, are we in for some good action.  Stifler has a dance-off with a large gay man by the name of Bear...and there was constant laughter for the next two minutes as Stifler and Bear go toe-to-toe trying to outdance one another.  Stifler makes moves on Michelle’s hot sister Cadence (January Jones)...laughter.  Stifler orders strippers...laughter.  Stifler teaches Jim how to dance...laughter.  Stifler reaction shots...laughter.  Stifler eats a “truffle”...uhh, nasty, but I was still laughing my ass off.

And, when Stifler is not around, the movie goes right to shit.  The character of Michelle was a one-trick pony in the FIRST film; how has Hannigan hung around this long?  The relationship that Michelle and Jim have makes no sense to me, and it is very poorly conceived in this film; it doesn’t help that Michelle is essentially reduced to a horny 22-year-old for her only real comedy in the film.  Jim’s friends Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) don’t have much going on here, either; they were pawns in the first two films, but at least Kevin had something to do; here, he is totally wasted.  Finch’s jokes come mostly at the expense of Stifler, so I don’t know if I was laughing at Finch’s jokes or Stifler’s reaction shots, but if I had to was Stifler!  Even the normally-hilarious Fred Willard (as Michelle’s dad) is forced to read bad line after bad line while waiting for another Stifler scene to bail him out.

The melodrama in “American Wedding” is so bad at times that I had to look away and hide my unborn children’s eyes.  The script is just weak and the direction is loose and carefree...not so good when you only have one performer that seems capable of really improvising his own humor.  Then I waited for the credits and had to look up the director online; the same man that brought us “How High” with Redman and Method Man got this gig, giving me the feeling that the producers felt just about ANYBODY could have directed this and it would have made money.  Unfortunately, no one was too concerned about a quality product, either.

For the fourth film--rumored in the works and nearly a certainty given the third film’s opening box office totals--I am hopeful that they call it “American Pie 4: Absolutely Stifler” and stop messing around with this shit.  Stifler is genius; the rest of this is crap.  The potential cult status of the first “American Pie” film is completely erased from my memory because these rat fuckers sold out and tried to make three films.

Rating:  Matinee


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09