American Wedding (Unrated) Review
The American Pie franchise returns for a third time with American Wedding - Jim (Jason Biggs) proposes to his - ‘one time, at band camp, I stuck a flute in my pussy’ – girlfriend Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), and the film charts the lead-up to the wedding and the original groups transition to the ‘next step’ in their lives. Regulars Seann William Scott, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Thomas Ian Nicholas, and Eugene Levy return, while dull, one-note Chris Klein, and eye-candy lovelies Mena Suvari, Tara Reid, and Shannon Elizabeth are left out, enabling director Jesse Dylan to concentrate on Jim and Michelle’s story, making the most mature Pie movie to date.
After Jim pops the question (in a well-orchestrated, typically pie-esque, opening involving under-the-table, oral pleasure antics at a swanky restaurant), Jim suddenly finds a hefty weight on his shoulders. He has to meet Michelle’s parents, which turns into a more difficult task than he could imagine, and he has keep Stifler from messing up the wedding preparations. Meanwhile, Stifler and Finch both vie for the attentions of Michelle’s gorgeous sister played by Pie-world newcomer, January Jones.
American Wedding has some great moments including Jim’s introduction to Michelle’s parents (the father of who is played by Fred Willard who crops up in Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries), and he’s quickly in the bad books after being spotted doing obscene things with the dog. Stifler’s camp dance-off in a gay bar is the highlight of a film, which becomes almost the ‘Steve Stifler Show’, and the dog shit masquerading as a chocolate truffle is hilarious. However, Alyson Hannigan is merely a background ornament and Thomas Ian Nicholas is nothing more than a recognisable face, along for the ride. In this extended version of the film, the centerpiece, a bachelor party gone wrong, runs and runs for far too long losing any sense of comedy, replacing it with ‘look how much fun the cast are having’ antics. However, Eddie Kaye Thomas clearly loves to play Finch, nearly as much as Seann William Scott loves to play Stifler, and they both excel. Scott steals the show on more than one occasion and it’s his over-the-top eccentrics, which give the film plenty of re-watch value.
Missing is the refreshing bite of teen-adolescence and sex initiation that made the first slice of Pie so much fun, yet American Wedding has plenty to enjoy and betters the first sequel for laughs. Fans of the franchise shouldn’t have a problem digesting this.
The picture is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is anamorphic enhanced. The print is in great condition, displaying no problems but the decision to photograph the film with a seemingly enhanced contrast level, does produce a lack of clarity throughout. Facial tones aren’t as natural as perhaps they should be, and the image tends to lack true definition.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track doesn’t utilise the sound spectrum especially well, with dialogue very centrally based. Rears are rarely used, apart from when the music fills the sound system, so overall the sense of spatial ambience is seriously lacking.
Feature Commentaries - Two separate commentaries are available – one featuring director Jesse Dylan and actor Seann William Scott, the other featuring actors Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Eddie Kaye Thomas, and Thomas Ian Nicholas. The first commentary with the director is much better, with plenty of anecdotal information and incites, whereas the cast commentary stutters and starts.
12 Deleted Scenes - Several scenes that didn’t make the final cut of the film are presented in 2.35:1 widescreen, without anamorphic enhancement. They are each introduced by either writer/producer Adam Herz or actor Seann William Scott. The scene with Scott and the blow-up doll is pretty funny.
Outtakes - Flubbed lines and other bits and pieces make it into this six minute section that has some amusing moments.
Stifler Speak - A seven minute featurette that examines the whole phenomenon that is Steve Stifler.
Enter The Dominatrix - The added bonus of this making-of featurette is that it’s presented by one of the bachelor party girls. It’s ten minutes long.
Grooming The Groom - A six minutes long featurette looking at the scene where Jim shaves his pubic hair.
Cheesy Wedding Video - A montage of scenes that are supposed to make up a, yes you’ve guessed it, a Cheesy Wedding Video. Don’t waste your time with this three minutes of crap.
Nikki’s Hollywood Journal - Interesting little ten minute featurette which does question Hollywood excess.
American Wedding will have no trouble satisfying fans of the series, but the American Wedding: Unrated Gift Set that has all the extras of this disc, coupled with an excellent 3 and a half hour documentary charting the history of the franchise, may sway a purchase away from this release.
7 out of 10
7 out of 10
7 out of 10
7 out of 10