American Wedding review by The Grim Ringler

I can say with all honesty that the dick and fart film genre has never been a big draw for me. I have just never gotten into that sub-genre of the teen films. Sure, I like my fair share of silly, weird, raunchy humor (I LOVED Bad Santa if that tells you anything), but I just cant get into most films that center on gross-outs before anything else. Which might sound odd coming from someone who likes the American Pie movies, which usually have at least one gross-out gag at the center of the film. I suppose the big draw for me is that you actually care about these characters (other than the character of Paul, who is but window dressing in AW) and what they are going through. And while I knew it was a cash-in, I was curious to see American Wedding to see if it lived up to the first two or if it was nothing but a soulless cash-in. Well, it is a cash-in, and the soul isnt that strong here though neither is the writing but its not a bad wrap-up to the modern versions of the eighties sex comedy.

American Wedding finds the three friends still together after all they have been through four if you count Stifler, who is a sort of friend but on the verge of entering the world of adults. Having all just finished college, each is deciding on what path to take in life, and its Jim who has chosen the most shocking path for the group of friends as he has chosen to ask his girlfriend Michelle, the infamous flutist of the first two films (the wonderful Alyson Hannigan, which, ya know, she is so good in it, we didnt need the other girl characters, which is sad to say, but eh, this was always about the guys so who cares?). Naturally the proposal doesnt go as planned when Michelle decides to engage in a little pre-dinner snack beneath the dinner table of a fancy restaurant and is down there when Jims father arrives with the ring, which had been forgotten at home. Oops. And this is but par for the course for the film series as whatever can go wrong, always seems to, though they always get worked out in the end. As the couple gets prepared for their wedding they have to deal with Jims angry gramma who hates that Michelle isnt Jewish, the fact hat Stifler and Finch are both playing for the affections of Michelles sister, a surprise bachelor party that is crashed by an unknowing Jim and Michelles parents, and on and on and on. Just as things look the bleakest though when Stifler accidentally ruins an enormous and costly flower arrangement meant for the wedding it comes down to a real test of friendship as to whether or not Michelle can have the dream wedding she has wished for.

This is dumb, mindless comedy, and god bless it for that. I have to admit that I have always gotten a kick out of whatever sick gag they have come up with for each film and this film has perhaps the grossest of all three films but again, I love the movies because of the characters. I love that through thick and thin these are friends who are there for one another. I loved that Alyson Hannigan got to tear it up in this one, even if her part wasnt as big as I would have liked. She is a very good comedic actress and hangs tough with Jason Biggs, another good comedic actor, very well. The writing isnt as strong as in the first two films and it is hard to shake the feeling that this was just done for the money, but the film turns out to be engaging and funny despite that. As long as you are willing to turn your brain off youll do fine. I think what really bothered me in the film was the sub-plot about Michelles sister, who is being wooed by both Stifler and Finch. There is a point in the film where she overhears Stifler telling Finch how he is about to have his way with the girl a virgin looking to score as it turns out and not sure if she wants a bad boy or good boy to do it and she is outraged and storms out. Yet, he wins back her affections pretty easily, and its a case of shoddy writing and lazy character that this happens. The things he says to Finch are vile, and even if we buy that she likes a little dirty business in the guy she wants to be with, any woman who would go for a guy that speaks that awfully and crassly about them I guess deserves what she gets. But it gives the film a bitter taste to me. Just as, at this point, Stifler, as a character is on the borderlands of becoming scary. We still laugh at him when he screws up, but that we cheer for an unrepentantly homophobic and almost misogynistic character is a bit unnerving. Am I looking too deeply? Of course I am. Hes a jerk in the greatest of eighties fashions, but it still weirds me out that they dont bother to give him a soul until the very last moments of the third film, and were ok with that.

The writing here, as I said, is pretty lazy but works and there are some very good gags here. And when in doubt, fill your film with great comedians, and they have, and this is probably the best cast the series has seen. I was disappointed that the entire cast didnt return for one film (come on, what are the female leads really doing that was so important? I mean really), and that they didnt bring back the character of Nadia (the foreign exchange student Jim fell for and had a shot with, GULP) was pretty lazy on their part as well, but all in all, its a damn fun movie. The direction is bland, the story is completely been-there-done-that, and you just feel for the actor that played Paul as his character arc ended well into the second film yet hes still standin, bless his heart. But all of that means nothing in a sex comedy. Is it funny? Yes.

The image and sound here are very good, though I dont know that youd really wanna pump the sound on this a whole lot. I did ponder over some of the scenes where there is music in the background though as its way too loud for its own good. And I am BORED TO DEATH with films filling themselves up with pop songs to sell a soundtrack. Stop it already, good grief! There are loads of extras as well as an unrated version of the film, which is the version I saw, so us pervs of the world will be more than happy with the extra nudity we are allotted. There is nothing too deep with the extras, nothing too technical, but then who the hell cares how they made it I suppose? Watch it, have fun, and forget it. Popcorn moviemaking at its finest.

c




7 out of 10 Jackasses
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