2003 - R - 98 Mins.
|Director: Jesse Dylan
|Producer: Chris Bender, Adam Herzm, Chris Moore, Craig Perry, Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz and Warren Zide
|Written By: Adam Herz
|Starring: Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, Alyson Hannigan, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Thomas Ian Nicholas and January Jones
|Review by: Bill King
Against all expectations, "American Wedding" not only captures the spirit and fun of the first two films, but surpasses them in terms of laughter. This is easily the funniest of the series (I won't say trilogy, because you just never know). Pound for pound, minute for minute, this film contains more laughs, more jokes, more puns and more embarrassing situations packed into its running time. Despite the fact that Oz, Nadia, Heather, Vicky, Jessica and the Shermanator aren't here (though the MILF guys are back), there's is still plenty of outrageous material, and the cast members do an excellent job with it.
The guys have graduated from college, though future employment is not what they're concerned with. Instead, the biggest event on the radar screen is the wedding between Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan). Jim bumbles his way through the proposal, with some help from his father (Eugene Levy). With the big event fast on its way, there are problems to address, such as buying the perfect wedding dress and Jim learning to dance. Paul (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) are back on hand to support their friend. At the engagement party, Steve Stifler (Seann William Scott) makes an uninvited appearance. He sees the wedding as an excuse to throw a bachelor party.
While in Chicago to buy a dress, the guys stumble into a gay bar to find a designer. This results in a hilarious dance competition between Stifler and Bear (Eric Allan Kramer). More comedy ensues when two strippers show up for the bachelor party, but Michelle parents (played by Fred Willard and Deborah Rush) show up unexpectedly. This turns out to be a deliriously funny scene that relies on a bombardment of sight gags and wicked choreography to pull off. The most disgusting joke in the movie belongs to Stifler, who goes to great lengths to ensure the wedding ring is safe.
Along with Michelle's parents comes her sister Cadence (January Jones), a beautiful blonde girl whom Stifler and Paul fight over. The running gag is that they think they know what she looks for in a guy, and they play on that for humorous results. As always, Jim's dad is on hand to offer sound advice for Jim's humiliating moments. What I noticed this time, something I missed in the first two films, is that the relationship between Jim and his father is one of the most interesting and honest of any parent/child relationship that one will find in the movies. They are very open with each other, discussing topics that would be too embarrassing for most.
Jason Biggs is the star, and his ability to get into and out of trouble is integral to the film's success, and also to the series. While he often does something that turns out to be disastrous, he doesn't do it on purpose. He does something that seems harmless, but he can never see what might go wrong. He doesn't deliberately go out to cause trouble. On the other hand, you have Stifler, whose outgoing personality attracts trouble easily. He's thick-headed, egotistical, rude and perverted, but his only desire is to have fun, and show others how to have fun. Despite his attitude, he comes across as someone we'd like to know. Behind the outer shell of lust lies the traits of someone willing to help you out in a grind.
"American Wedding" is an uproariously good time. There's no high artistic intent here, but I don't want every movie to be artsy. Movies are allowed to have fun, and this is one of the funniest films of 2003. The director is Jesse Dylan, who somehow got the job after helming the awful "How High" (2001). His sense of timing is perfect. The movie rarely slows down, but moves from one joke to the next with ease. Even the heartfelt conversations between Jim, his dad and Michelle are laced with humor. Kevin, Paul and Stifler do what's required of them, and they don't disappoint. Overall, "American Wedding" is guaranteed to deliver the goods.