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Movie Review

American Pie: The Wedding

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Directed by Jesse Dylan, starring Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, Alyson Hannigan, January Jones, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Eugene Levy and Thomas Ian Nicholas.

Whatever about the innuendo-driven poster making you laugh at bus stops and train stations, the people behind the third 'American Pie' movie needed to put only a single line across their promo material to whip up interest. The sentence? "It's better than the second one". Granted, that's not difficult, but for those who worshipped the original, only for the sequel to be a massive disappointment, 'The Wedding' will leave them with dirty grins all over their faces - and maybe even a tear in their eye.

The serially clumsy Jim (Biggs) and band camp championing Michelle (Hannigan) have decided to get hitched in a lavish ceremony. But no sooner are the invites sent out than their plans rapidly fall apart. They can't find someone to make the right wedding dress, Jim's performance anxiety about dancing at the reception grows by the hour, Michelle's parents wonder if he's right the man for the girl and, after a while, even he starts siding with them. Making the big day special will require patience, encouragement, risk taking and, most bizarrely of all, the one person who never should have been invited in the first place - Stifler (Scott).

Ditching most of the clutter characters who did nothing for the last movie (Chris Klein, Tara Reid, Shannon Elizabeth etc) director Dylan and writer Adam Herz know who the real favourites are. And while the painfully superfluous Thomas Ian Nicholas remains, he's never onscreen long enough to get you worked up.

This time, much of the slush and sentiment has been siphoned off and replaced with a funnier and nastier script, determined to see Biggs' Jim and Scott's Stifler vying for the humiliation crown. Biggs may get the top billing but everyone knows by this stage that the magic of the series comes from Scott's raging manchild.

His early scenes may seem clunky and obvious but once the wedding plans start going downhill, Scott comes into his own and gives a more over-the-top performance than both the previous movies put together. In his deranged bid to rescue Jim and Michelle's dream, he ends up in a dance face-off at a gay bar, tries to explain a German maid and police stripper to the future in-laws, goes through untold torture retrieving a wedding ring and finally brings a whole new meaning to being a friend of the elderly.

Throw in some killer one-liners and a director who knows how to wring the gags out of every scene and you've got one of those very rare weddings where no-one goes home complaining.

All we can hope for now is a very messy divorce.

Harry Guerin

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