R4 . COLOR . 99 mins .
MA15+ . PAL
Following the huge and unexpected success of American Pie back in 1999, the inevitable sequel was produced and, as far as sequels go, American Pie 2 wasn’t a bad follow up. The duo of films was so successful that a third film was sure to follow. The problem this time around was where could the series possibly go so as not to keep reliving the same joke? The majority of the leading cast return for this film, but before we look at this story, a brief run down of the ocerall story so far.
This one time at Band Camp!
For a more detailed run down of the first two films, check out the American Pie 1 & 2: The Ultimate Collector’s Pack review, otherwise here is a brief synopsis. American Pie introduces us to a bunch of teenagers who made a pact to lose their virginity before graduation. Through a series of catastrophes including a live internet feed of a foreign exchange student, Porky’s style perversion of your typical teenage boys and the discovery that sometimes the nerdy girls are the right girls, the boys all managed to lose their virginity. One of them managing to do this with his friend’s mother!
American Pie 2 saw the guys and girls a year later in a house by the lake for a week of partying. The sequel followed the same formula as the first with endless alcohol, boobs and tasteless situations and worked equally as well as its predecessor. The basic premise for these films is simple, show lots of flesh, young men in the pursuit of getting laid and the embarrassing situations they get into. Where these films are different to most is that they actually show these characters with a little heart – well most of them.
"Well polish my nuts and serve me a milkshake!"
For American Pie: The Wedding (also known as American Wedding), the film begins with Jim (Jason Biggs) out to dinner with Michelle (Allison Hannigan). He is about to propose to her, but she is confused. When Jim suggests she uses her napkin, Michelle thinks he is referring to a sexual act and promptly ducks under the table to perform one. The reference to the napkin was because that’s where Jim had placed the engagement ring – or so he thought. He had actually left the ring at home and his father soon arrives with it, the whole time Michelle is still under the table. It is quickly established from this point that this film is following on in the same style as its predecessors and fans can quickly relax and enjoy the ride.
After this embarrassing situation at the restaurant, the next step is to plan the wedding, but as most couples would be worried about catering, the dress and the location, the biggest fear for Jim and Michelle is how to keep the event a secret from Stifler (Seann William Scott). He has a bad habit of ruining things and embarrassing all concerned, so the friends intend to keep him well away from proceedings. Now where would an American Pie film be without the Stiffmeister causing havoc? He soon learns of the upcoming event and quickly plans the bachelor party – for starters. The next major concern for Jim is trying to impress his future in-laws. Michelle’s parents are the conservative type and not easily impressed, let’s hope nothing goes wrong. There is also the other small matter of Michelle’s beautiful sister, Cadence (January Jones), who has arrived for the wedding. She has attracted the attention of both Stifler and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), which means their usually volatile friendship is even more so.
This third film in the series is more of the same, but is not quite up to the same standard. The absence of leading characters has been slightly overcome by the introduction of new characters and apart from the gay character Bear (Eric Alan Kramer), these substitute characters are very clichéd. Fans who enjoyed the first two films will not be completely disappointed in this third instalment. The formula has worked so far and the tried and trusted combinations of sex, breasts, obscenities and humour that will make your stomach turn are reasonably executed yet again, although this is definitely the weakest film in the series to date.
It should also be noted that this is the unrated version, basically containing more breast vision than our American cousins due to their strict ratings system.
Should there be a fourth film in the series? That is probably a stupid question as producers tend to milk a series that makes copious amounts of cash. The big question, however, is where can they go next? The logical step would be childbirth for the happy couple and the thought of Stifler giving young children tips on life is a promising prospect. Whatever the theme may be, assuming they can get the main cast members to sign on the dotted line, a fourth is pretty much inevitable.
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and 16:9 enhanced for widescreen owners, this transfer is quite disappointing overall. Shadow detail and contrast levels are both only average and although these are the only major issues on an otherwise strong transfer, they do spoil the viewing pleasure. Sharpness is strong and grain is absent and there are only minimal instances of aliasing. Colours are disappointing, but this issue is more than likely caused by the poor shadow detail.
Dude, we all know who the best man is!
There are some cases of edge enhancement and the layer change is reasonably well placed at 72:27. Subtitles are supplied in English and are accurate to what is said on screen. This is not the worst transfer around, but for a new film it is a long way from the standard we expect.
Audio is supplied in an English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix and unlike its video transfer counterpart is pretty much faultless. Dialogue is clear at all times and there are no problems with hiss, distortion or dropout. There is an excellent music track for this film including artists such as Van Morrison, Bananarama, Belinda Carlisle, Foo Fighters, Good Charlotte, Sum 41, Avril Lavigne, Eurythmics, Duran Duran, Sugababes and Groove Armada to name but a few and these are all pumped through this audio mix beautifully.
Surround use is not extensive and directional effects are also minimal, however this type of film doesn’t really require an ear bonk sound mix so it suits its purpose well. More surround use would have been nice and more action from the subwoofer, but compared to the video transfer this is more than acceptable.
There are quite a few extras supplied with this release, something that we have become accustomed to from this franchise.
Containing 12 deleteions, all with introductions from writer Adam Hertz and actor Seann William Scott, this section runs for just over 22 minutes. Some scenes are quite amusing and the explanation for their exclusion from the finished product is informative. Scenes included are The Ring, Two Weeks, Extended Montage, Vows, Proud Grandma, Poolside, Tradition, Men Are Pigs, Head Table, Grandma Dances With Stifler, Extended Blow-Up Doll and Grandma in the Closet.
Running for just over six minutes, this collection of outtakes is basically a bloopers reel. Generally it is quite amusing, but it is doubtful it would maintain its appeal after one viewing.
This featurette looks at the character of Stifler and how actor Seann William Scott and writer Adam Herz created this character.
Enter the Dominatrix: Inside the Bachelor Party
This featurette runs for 9:48 and is hosted by actress Nikki Schieler Ziering (Officer Crystal). This is a reasonably informative featurette that looks at the production and clips from the bachelor party.
Audio Commentary – Jesse Dylan and Seann William Scott
Director Jesse Dylan and actor Seann William Scott (Stifler) feature in the first of two commentaries with this release. This is a reasonable effort with a large amount of subjects covered. Scott is quite amusing and shows how serious he is about his character of Stifler.
Audio Commentary – Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Thomas Ian Nicholas
This second commentary is by far the weaker of the two. The actors are constantly talking over each other and it offers nothing new. It seems that the actors had not seen the film in its entirety prior to recording this commentary and the regular gaps are an indication that they are simply admiring their own work. Overall this is kind of juvenile and a waste of disc space.
Grooming the Groom
This featurette focuses on the pubic hair shaving scene from the film. It runs for 6:35 and offers some interesting information on what is involved in making a simple scene such as this.
Cheesy Wedding Video
This is the type of wedding video we have all had to endure at some point. It would have been nice to see a Funniest Home Videos type effort, but this is like the real deal. It has a running time of three minutes.
Nikki’s Hollywood Journal
Running for 9:55, this featurette focuses on a day in the life of actress Nikki Schieler Ziering (Officer Crystal). Many will not recognise the actress with her clothes on as she prepares for a premiere. This is too long and not particularly interesting.
Overall this is a nice way to round out this series and it gives us some closure. Having said that though, we all know that there will be another, and maybe another. This is definitely not as strong as its two predecessors but it is still an enjoyable romp with the characters we have come to love.
The video transfer is disappointing and the audio is satisfactory, although the latter could have been better with more utilisation of the surrounds. The extras are a reasonable mix overall, although the second commentary really is a waste of time. If you are a fan of this series then you have probably already decided to buy this, go ahead, you won’t be disappointed. For everyone else, this is an enjoyable instalment in the series.