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American Wedding

The American Pie movies' stature rises with every Van Wilder and Whatever It Takes that follows ineptly in their footsteps. The series' lazy blend of Farrelly brothers-brand slapstick and John Hughes-brand sentimentality seems easy to reproduce, but shockingly few of the original film's clones have matched it, let alone topped it. For better or worse, American Wedding–the third and supposedly final chapter in the American Pie series–offers more of the same. Sure, the mostly intact gang has made it through college, and gone on to grad school and/or careers, but their genitals once again have a funny way of popping up in exactly the wrong place at exactly the wrong time. Proof that dewy sentimentality and jokes involving dog rape need not be mutually exclusive, American Wedding begins with a sequence in which Alyson Hannigan mistakes a fumbling prelude to a marriage proposal from longtime beau Jason Biggs for an invitation to perform oral sex on him under the table of a crowded restaurant. Biggs' dad (caterpillar-browed scene-stealer Eugene Levy) arrives mid-blow-job to give Biggs his engagement ring, facilitating both sexual humiliation and a successful, albeit tardy marriage proposal. That sequence sums up American Wedding in a nutshell, by combining raunchiness and sweetness in a slapdash but generally effective manner. Directed by Jesse Dylan (son of Bob), who previously proved his low-comedy acumen as the director of How High, American Wedding centers on the tumult surrounding the wedding of lovable schlemiel Biggs and the always-charming Hannigan. Seann William Scott returns as a sort of feral, profane Eddie Haskell for the Maxim age, and he and Biggs anchor a raunchy comedy that's as ramshackle and affable as its predecessors. It's also packed with profanity and gratuitous displays of silicone-injected flesh, both of which have become increasingly rare in an age in which strict enforcement of the R rating has neutered teen-sex comedies, robbing them of their very reason for existing. A teen-sex comedy without sex or nudity is like caffeine-free Diet Mountain Dew: What's the point? If nothing else, American Wedding proves how jaded audiences have become when it comes to shock. Three decades ago, the shit-eating scene in Pink Flamingos caused a minor scandal. Here, the eating of feces constitutes a typical gag in a mainstream, fairly harmless comedy destined to be seen by multiplex denizens the world over.

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