American Pie: The Wedding review

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You know how it is - one slice of pie is great, two is manageable, but force down a third chunk and you end up feeling bloated and just a little bit sick. It almost happens with The Wedding.

Let's get the plot out of the way first. Jim and Michelle (Jason Biggs and Alyson Hannigan) are getting hitched, paving the way for the arrival of Michelle's dog-obsessed parents and her sex-hungry younger sister (January Jones). It's gonna be a disaster - and that's before you factor in everyone's attempts to keep expletive-machine Stifler (Seann William Scott) away from the ceremony...

Pies 1 (especially) and 2 (disappointing as it was) always added sweetness to the offence. Pie 3 botches the recipe a little, twisting the likeable characters out of shape to meet the demands of a script that's only really interested in Jim and Stifler. Finch (Eddie Kay Thomas) and Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) are ignored almost completely and - in a glaring misjudgement - Michelle is also sidelined. Jim, however, survives largely unscathed, his innocence and natural charm always on hand whenever they're needed.

Which is plenty, considering Stifler is now centre stage. Spotlighting Scott's high-school loudmouth may have appeared a good idea on paper, but it never quite works. Yes, he's the fulcrum for some great comic set-pieces - a gay bar dance-off, a rowdy bachelor party - but his original rogue has now been crossbred with a monkey. Pie 2 saw him morphing into a crude caricature; now he's pure panto.

Thank goodness, then, for Eugene Levy's reliable presence as Jim's Dad. Genuinely funny, he gets half-a-dozen scenes and steals them all. It's his considerable talent, married to the smooth skill of Biggs, that saves American Pie: The Wedding from being the inedible concoction it could have been. In fact, in places, it's really rather tasty.

The final slice is neither sweet cherry nor malnourishing mud pie. Solid chuckles are harder to come by, but there's enough comedy filling to snack on.

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