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AMERICAN PIE: THE WEDDING (article first published : 2003-11-13)

Inhaled clumps of public hair. A man forced to moan with delight on devouring a chunk of dog faeces disguised as a chocolate truffle. A gay disco dance-off. All this, plus a rough and tumble that ends with people bursting into a room to discover two young men seemingly engaged in intercourse with a dog.

Welcome to the third and final chapter of American Pie (UIP), the cult teen comedy which, with its outrageous humour and nicely defined, amiable teen characters, all discovering libido, proved one of the biggest successes of 1998.

This was the film with the now-classic scene of Jason Biggs, as central character Jim, letting himself loose on a warm plate of pie - and being discovered doing so by his embarrassing father, played wonderfully by Eugene Levy. Both are back in the new film, titled American Pie: The Wedding, along with Jim's reluctant mate, the sexist and boorish Stifler, played by Seann William Scott. Chris Klein, who played Oz, along with most of the female cast, are missing this time around, but Alyson Hannigan, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, who plays Jim's fiancè, is, of course, present.

"I know there will be people who will miss these characters", Hannigan told Empire magazine recently, "but it kind of makes sense that the boys would come back for the stag party. And it was going to be difficult to fit all those different storylines into one film."

Centring on the mishaps and inanities which unfold in the build-up to Jim and Michelle's wedding, for which Stifler decides to stage a stag party with a difference, the film becomes tired and episodic. The Stifler character is way too over the top now - and too central to the storyline. I'd also bleat about too little being made of the comical Michelle.

Frankly, all considered, the movie runs out of steam early and the juvenile antics, which worked when the cast had an average age of 18, is just plain silly now that they're all approaching their mid-20s.

Only Euegne Levy, as the constantly embarrassing father of Jim, continues to impress.

American Pie: The Wedding is a film very, very strictly for fans. Others, like me, might be tempted to walk out halfway. Rating: 3/10. – Billy Suter




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