Monday, August 20, 2012

Movie – American Wedding (2003)

After the success of American Pie, and the even bigger box office success of American Pie 2, the fact that a third movie was going to be made wasn’t that big a surprise.  While the second movie returned everyone from the first one, the third concentrates on just a few of the characters.  I feel that this allowed the third movie to be a little bit better than the second one because they didn’t have to waste time ensuring a dozen or so people all got screen time.

In American Wedding it’s now four years after the second film and Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) have graduated from college.  Jim plans to propose, but his father (Eugene Levy) hasn’t gotten to the restaurant with the ring.  Jim stalls, Michelle thinks he’s hinting he wants sex, and she proceeds to put Jim in yet another embarrassing situation where his dad catches him in a sex act.  At least Michelle accepts the proposal, and the wedding is on.

Returning for the wedding are Jim’s friends Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas).  Neither Jim nor Michelle want Stifler at the wedding, but as luck would have it he finds out about it.  He actually knows how to dance (as demonstrated by a dance off in a gay bar) and he tells Jim that he will teach him to dance for the wedding only if he gets invited AND gets to throw the bachelor party.  Hijinks ensue.

Meanwhile, Jim hasn’t made a great impression on Michelle’s family.  Her sister Cadence (January Jones), dad (Fred Willard), and mom (Deborah Rush) catch him in what appears to be a compromising position at the engagement party.  To try to make it up to them Jim arranges to have a dinner at his house with Michelle’s parents.  Unbeknownst to him that’s the same location and time Stifler has planned for Jim’s bachelor party.  Enter Fraulein Brandi and Officer Krystal and exit any chance Jim has to make a good impression.

By the way, the prior two movies had both been released on DVD in theatrical and unrated editions.  This first film actually included some more explicit (according to the MPAA anyway) scenes, but the second film, like most “unrated” movie releases, just added back in some scenes that were originally cut because they weren’t that good.  For this third movie the filmmakers deliberately shot more footage at the bachelor party solely for the purpose of putting it on an unrated DVD release.  They wanted to make sure that customers actually got something that the marketing was promising.

There is also a subplot in the movie involving both Stifler and Finch being attracted to Cadence.  Each of them gets the impression that she prefers the other, so first Stifler starts trying to act more mature and intelligent, and then Finch starts to act more like the real Stifler.  The two looked like they were having fun swapping characters for a bit.

I do have to mention that this film, in its quest to once again find something even worse to do to Stifler than what had happened in the previous films, finally hit my “I don’t need to see that” threshold.  I had to look away during one scene with Stifler when he sacrifices himself to save Michelle’s mom from doing something gross.

I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention that once again Stifler’s Mom (Jennifer Coolidge) and the two MILF guys (Justin Isfeld and John Cho) improbably turn up during these events.  These three, along with Jason Biggs, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Seann William Scott, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Alyson Hannigan, and Eugene Levy, have been in all four theatrical movies.  (Molly Cheek, who played Jim’s mom in the first three movies, does appear in the fourth, but only in photos and a family movie.)

In addition to the wedding of Jim and Michelle, another lasting thing to come from this movie was the use of song Laid.  It might be better known by its opening lyrics: “The bed is on fire with passionate love/ the neighbors complain about the noises above”.  After appearing in this movie, it was re-used in at least a couple of the direct to video spin-offs, as well as the fourth theatrical movie. 

If you like the characters of Jim and Michelle from the first two movies then you should definitely check this one out.  This movie is really their story.  If you preferred the characters that don’t make an appearance in this one then you may want to skip it.  For everyone else, I recommend you give this film a try.

Chip’s Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

           DVD                      Blu-ray


  1. Should have just been called "American Stifler" because he's pretty much the only thing that makes this film work and the only thing that they really focus on. Jim and Michelle's relationship is sort of put on the back-burner which was kind of a bummer but it still allowed Scott to do his own thing. Good review Chip.

    1. I agree that there was a lot of Stifler, but I felt there was plenty of Jim and Michelle, too. It was their wedding storyline that I liked the best from this movie. Thanks for commenting.