A thing you see a lot in movie trilogies is that in the third installment, the filmmakers bring the series full-circle and bring an aspect of the first movie into the third and final movie. (See: the Die Hard and Scream series, as well as many others). They didn't exactly do that in American Wedding, the last hurrah of the American Pie series. They practically gutted the cast from the first two movies and they have yet another director at the helm, the third in as many movies. But they did come full-circle in realizing the main reason this series is so successful: Stifler (Scott). He isn't the lead, but he definitely has the biggest role in this movie, and deservedly so, in this fairly entertaining finale.
As American Wedding begins we realize that while some things will change, other things never will. Jim (Biggs) and Michelle (Hannigan) have just graduated from college and they're celebrating in fancy restaurant. He's about to propose to her when his father (Levy) calls and informs him that there is no ring in the box. His dad arrives with the rock, but Michelle is under the table. Do I really need to say anything more, besides that the scene is hillarious? But Jim ends up popping...the question, I mean, and the crew prepares for the wedding.
Unlike the first two movies, Stifler doesn't steal the show, he is the show. The engagement scene is really funny, but the movie doesn't pick up until we see our old pal Stifler, who apparently didn't graduate college like his buddies. We aren't actually told this, but seeing as he's now a school bus driver/football coach, we get the idea that a degree is not one of his worldly possessions. Stifler's early scenes are a bit annoying, because it seems as if director Jesse Dylan, son of Bob Dylan and director of the amusing How High, tried to go even more over the top with Stifler's already over-the-top character. But once he falls back into his regular niche, he's absolutely hilarious. He shows off his dance moves in a side-splitting scene at a gay nightclub, puts on a wonderfully fake nice-guy front to win the affections of Michelle's sister Cadence (Jones) and, in keeping with the gross-out tradition of these movies, he has a great scene involving some mysterious "chocolate." Scott is a wonderful comedic talent and I hope, with this series ending, he finds more great material to keep us laughing for years to come.
Eugene Levy is on point once again as Jim's Dad and Jason Biggs is pretty decent as the eternal doofus, but the rest of the acting is merely average. Hannigan reprises her role as the nympho Michelle, but she brings nothing new to the role at all. Newcomer January Jones is O.K. as Cadence, and Eddie Kaye Thomas is fairly good as Finch, mainly just because of his back and forth routine with Stifler. But the other mainstay of the original cast, Thomas Ian Nicholas' Kevin, should have been left out with the others. It's not that his performance is horrible, but there just isn't anything to it. In the first two movies it seems as if his character exists solely because of his relationship with Vicky, played by Tara Reid. In this movie, with Vicky gone, there is really no use for him. He doesn't have many lines and isn't on screen very much at all. Maybe he should've sat this one out with Oz (Chris Klein from the first two movies) because he adds absolutely nothing to the movie.But what I think might be the most intriguing aspect of the cast is the exclusion of a certain role once again: Stifler's Dad. In the second movie, Chris Penn played the Stifmeister's dad, but the scenes were left out of the final cut. In this movie, it was reported that Tim Allen was set to play Stifler's dad, but he was not in the movie as well. I think this would've been a great character to add to this movie. Could you imagine Scott and Penn or Allen drinking beers at the reception, shouting out obscenities to the same women? It would've been priceless. But I digress.
Screenwriter Adam Herz, who has penned all three Pie movies, is great at creating really funny scenarios that people could easily get into, but probably wouldn't. There are plenty of these in this movie, but most of them lack a lot of the punch from the earlier movies. There are tons of great one-liners, mostly from Stifler, but the plotline is a lot weaker than the previous movies, with a lot of scattered scenes that don't advance the story and aren't as funny as I'm sure they were intended to be. But the bottom line is that it is pretty damn funny.Director Jesse Dylan didn't really seem to be a good fit for this movie. As in his first movie, "How High" he tends to overexaggerate things a bit too much, which does work in some instances and is just awkward in others. This style must have seemed perfect for this movie, given the style of American Wedding's predecessors. But, especially in a movie that's trying (and I emphasize 'trying') to show how these kids have grown up, that style doesn't always work.
American Wedding is a movie about what happens when dorks and hornballs grow up... and turn into older dorks and hornballs. Scott's hillarious performance as Stifler makes this a must-see comedy of the summer. But that's about all there is to see.