Saturday, August 02, 2003

So I went to the movies tonight, so here goes my thoughts.

I can't quite reccomend this movie, at least not for everybody, but I found enough charming things about it that it's hard for me to say don't see it as well. Let's put it this way. When this pops up on TBS or FX in a year or so, I would probably sit through bits and pieces of it. Let's first look at this trilogy as a whole. When I saw the first one in the theaters I was a very dissapointed. Scott, Barrett, and a bunch of other friends had seen a sneak preview of it and raved about it. Saying it was one of the funniest movies they had seen in a long time. After seeing it, I was wondering when was the last time they had actually watched a comedy, any comedy. But then when I watched it again on regular television I actually found it kind of charming. I'm not sure if I liked it that much more, but when the grosser parts had to be toned down for the tube, I realized the movie had a lot more heart than say the Porky movies. These were actually pretty well defined characters. Granted, they were put in ridiculous circumstances, but there was some depth to it that most gross out teen comedies definately lack. The second one was actually something I didn't intend to sit through all the way. I went to see "Ghost of Mars," and wound up at the theater a thirty minutes too early. So, to kill time, I bought a ticket to see American Pie 2 with every intention of leaving after the first thirty minutes had passed, but I actually found myself getting into it, and ended up watching "Ghost of Mars" at a later time. I wish I had just skipped the Mars movie altogether, but I'm a sucker for modern Carpenter crapfests. My biggest problems with these two movies is while they are charming and sweet in their own weird ways, they really relied way too heavily on the gross out humor and their were just way too many characters to deal with. I understand it's an ensemble piece, but do you really need to have upwards of 15 characters going through all kinds of problems for an hour and a half.
"American Wedding" kind of deals with these two problems and proves to actually be the best installment of the series. Now, that's not exactly the same thing as saying "Empire Strikes Back" is better than "Star Wars." It's more like saying that "Free Willy 3" was better than "Free Willy," but still overall it's a decent film with quite a few things to enjoy, and quite a few things that don't work. They cut the amount of characters in half which is a good thing. In fact they could of cut out a few more, such as the Asian guy and his friend, and the dude from "Rookie of the Year" (I can't remember his name) serves no purpose, but he was in the first two, and I guess Chris Klein was too busy humping Katie Holmes or something. And like Chris said, this is more Stifler's movie than Jim's, but I think they actually did an admirable job with the development of his character. He still remains pretty much the same person in the end, but is able to actually use his insane ideas to his advantage. This movie would have served well with a title like "Stifler Saves the Wedding."
Problems are there aplenty. A lot of the gross out gags just don't work. Stifler eating shit is just unnecessary. The bachelor party scene is the big comedic scene in the middle of the movie and it just flat out doesn't work, much like the Shannon Elizabeth scene in the first one, and the lesbian scene in the second one. This kind of comedy works better in small doses and not as well in elaborate schemes that are obvious from the beginning. I was also dissapointed how they underused such great comedic talents such as Eugene Levy and Fred Willard. Although Levy does get the best scene in the movie when he gets to give Allyson Hannigan advice on how to write her vows.
There's quite a bit of sweetness underneath all of the ridiculousness, and I actually was rooting for Jim to get the wedding taken care of, and I found the scenes at the end with the groom/bride dance and such to be quite endearing. So, while not a groundbreaking film; it's a solid commercial film, and there's nothing wrong with that at all.


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