Universal // 2003 // 102 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // March 14th, 2012
You are cordially invited to the wedding of the year!
From high school, to college, to wedded bliss, the cast of the American Pie films find themselves headed to the altar in American Wedding, now in high definition courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment.
After three years of dating, sexually clumsy Jim (Jason Biggs, My Best Friend's Girl) and band geek Michelle (Alyson Hannigan, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) have finally grown up and decided to take the plunge, love and heavy petting -- VERY heavy petting. After Jim proposes in the most embarrassing way possible (two words: restaurant and erection), the two begin the process of putting together a wedding. That is, if Jim can convince Michelle's father (Fred Willard, Best in Show) and mother (Deborah Rush, The Good Girl) he's the right guy for their daughter. Complicating matters are Stifler's (Sean William Scott, Cop Out) pushy involvement in the planning process and his competition with Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas, A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas) for the affections of Michelle's sister (January Jones, X-Men: First Class). As the big day looms ever closer, tensions become heightened to ensure they pull of the best American Wedding ever!
It's been a long few days. For better or worse, I made the decision to plow through the Blu-ray releases of all three original American Pie films. That's a whole lot of Stifler, late '90s rock, and sex with various inanimate objects. While I enjoyed revisiting the series, my bottom half was so numb I could've shoved a trumpet in my butt and not felt a thing (a joke just for fans of the franchise).
My journey reaches its conclusion with American Wedding, the third and final film starring most of the original cast; the subsequent straight-to-DVD cash grabs don't count. Not surprisingly, this is the lesser of the three, due to the fact it tries to deal with heavy subjects like marriage and love, ideas more suited to the periphery of these characters' lives rather than being front and center. As raunchy as the first two films were, to witness this group of friends stumble into adulthood just doesn't hold the same entertainment value. If they keep this series alive post American Reunion, they'll likely deal with how Stifler is defrauding social security while Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) attends Vicky's (Tara Reid) funeral.
This is the first American Pie film that didn't see the return of Tara Reid, Mena Suvari, Chris Klein, Shannon Elizabeth, and Natasha Lyonne. Even supporting players like Chris Owen (The Mist) as "The Shermanator" and Casey Affleck (Ocean's Thirteen) as Kevin's sexually sage brother are sadly MIA. Instead, we're treated to January Jones. Eons removed from her character on Mad Men, she's a welcome addition (see: easy on the eyes) to the cast, but hardly makes up for a lack of other essential and absent characters.
This isn't to say American Wedding is a bad movie, as much of the franchise's embarrassing characters and gross out humor remains (e.g. pubic hair and a wedding cake). However, by this point, the actors have all settled into their roles like an elderly man in an easy chair. In essence, these characters are exactly what you expect them to be: sex crazed young adults. Sean William Scott's Stifler is as obnoxious as ever, sometimes to a fault; his character is so oblivious to the fact that everyone dislikes him that it often skirts believability. Finch is still a master of the mystic arts and Eddie Kaye Thomas plays him perfectly. Jason Biggs' Jim is still getting caught with his pants down, and Alyson Hannigan's Michelle is still that nerdy/sexy mix fans have come to adore.
It's here I came to the realization that Eugene Levy (Greg the Bunny) and Jennifer Coolidge (Legally Blonde) are national treasures and MVPs of this series, with characters deserving of their own feature-length adventures. As American Wedding came to a close, it dawned on me that the emotional core of these tales isn't the relationships between friends, but the relationship between Jim and his father. Levy's moments with Biggs are as touching as they are amusing. Add in Fred Willard as Michelle's father -- once again displaying his masterful deadpan wit -- and we have a teen sex comedy with adults who are as funny and warm as the rest of the cast.
American Wedding may not be as good as the previous two films, but it sure has its share of laugh-out-loud moments. The film plays like one long Three's Company episode; misunderstandings abound, as a raunchy bachelor party (complete with a burly man in assless chaps) goes terribly and hysterically wrong. Characters pretend to be who they aren't (including Stifler trying to act preppy for the sake of a beautiful blonde) and find themselves in the most embarrassing situations this side of a humping a pastry.
Credit Chris Moore, Chris Bender, and Craig Perry for producing a series that didn't devolve into abysmal mediocrity. Although American Wedding isn't as fresh as its predecessors, it's still silly and highly entertaining. If you liked the first two films, you'll come out of American Wedding having experienced a great time.
Presented in 2.35:1/1080p high definition widescreen, the picture quality is on par with the franchise's other HD releases; sometimes soft and lacking in detail, but colors and black levels are uniformly good. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix allows for some nice directional effects, both in its use of pop music and nicely placed ambient noise. Also included are 5.1 French and 2.0 Spanish language tracks, plus English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles.
The only new Blu-ray bonus feature is quick peek at the forthcoming American Reunion. The rest of the supplements are just ported over from the previous DVD release, including some deleted scenes and outtakes, two audio commentaries with the cast and crew, a "Cheesy Wedding Video," Stifler Speak, a few featurettes ("Kevin Cam: A Day in the Life of an Actor," "Nikki's Hollywood Journal," "Grooming the Groom," and "Enter the Dominatrix: Inside the Bachelor Party"), the original theatrical cut of the film, and a trailer, as well as DVD and Digital copies for your PC and portable devices.
American Wedding may not live up to the promise of its predecessors, but it's still an enjoyable romp. Fans will eat it up like...well, wedding cake.
Worthy of your RSVP.
Review content copyright © 2012 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* DTS 5.1 Surround (French)
* DTS 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
* English (sDH)
Running Time: 102 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Unrated
* Theatrical Version
* Deleted Scenes
* Sneak Peek
* DVD Copy
* Digital Copy