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Introduction
If you were to ask most people to name their favourite trilogies then I am sure the majority would list series such as Star Wars (the originals), Terminator and The Lord Of The Rings. However, while I think highly of such collections, I am going to stick my neck out and say that I rate the American Pie trilogy as my favourite collection of movies.

1999 (was it really five years ago?!) was the year that we were first introduced to Jim Levinstein. I still painfully remember Jim’s first scene which involved a strategically placed sock and some illegal porn channels. The original American Pie movie was a sleeper hit and inevitably a sequel soon followed. Last year saw the theatrical release of American Wedding, the final chapter in the eventful life of Jim and his friends. Rookie director  Jesse Dylan was assigned with serving up the final piece of pie, but was he up to the task? Read on to find out.      

American Pie - The Wedding (Unrated)
Movie
American Wedding follows its predecessors by starting in controversial fashion. Over the years it has become customary for Jim to perform a humiliating act at the beginning of each film, and this one is no different! The introduction sets the scene for the rest of the movie, Jim (Jason Biggs) decides that it is about time he proposed to Michelle (Michelle Hannigan), and chooses to pop the question in a crowded restaurant. Let’s just say it doesn’t quite go to plan!

Michelle’s answer is never in doubt though, and the couple set about planning their wedding. Aided by close friends Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and Kevin, (Thomas Ian Nicholas) the wedding looks like it will be a glorious event and should run without any hitches. The only stumbling block could be Stifler (Seann William Scott), who Jim is hoping won’t find out about the wedding.  He soon has to give up on this idea however, when Stifler finds out about the ceremony and duly invites himself. Stifler is keen to meet the bridesmaids, and this idea terrifies Michelle because her sister, Cadence (January Jones) is maid of honour and Stifler is on the prowl! It is not long before Jim is actually grateful for Stifler’s involvement, as the pair strike up a deal which sees Stifler organising the bachelor party in return for teaching Jim to dance.

Like the previous American Pie movies the plot is not very complex and the selling point of the franchise is based on slapstick humour with the plot taking second place. American Wedding certainly doesn’t falter in the porkys-esque sequences, the best of which is the bachelor party scene. The scene involves two strippers (one dressed as a dominatrix policewoman and the other a maid), the guys, a homosexual waiter and Michelle’s parents! This scene is well scripted and full of mishaps and embarrassing situations for Jim. Other sequences worth looking out for include Stifler’s night club dance-off and Jim’s unfortunate shaving incident. If you are a fan of the previous movies then expect more of the same. This is probably the main reason the film works so well, even though there is a different director at the helm the movie fits in well with its predecessors and is a fitting climax to the trilogy.    

Universal have supplied the unrated version of the movie with this disc, and having seen the movie at the cinema I noticed a few differences. The main difference is the bachelor party scene which is ruder, longer and funnier. If you loved that scene originally, then you are in for a treat! The other difference I noticed involved a scene with Finch and Stifler which is also funny and a worthy addition to the movie. There are other subtle additions, but chances are you won’t notice them while watching this new cut. The previous American Pie DVDs all had unrated version, but without a doubt this is the best of them.

American Pie - The Wedding (Unrated)
The decision was made to drop a large proportion of the cast for American Wedding. When I originally heard this news I was quite apprehensive, as the first two movies were classics in my opinion and losing characters such as Vicki, Heather, Oz and Nadia (that’s a shame!) seemed a foolish decision. However after watching this movie in the cinema I have to admit to making an about turn. The only character I disliked in the previous movies was Stifler, so the fact that he has more screen time than ever in American Wedding did not really appeal to me. However, his character is now more mature (not too much though!) and a lot of the funniest scenes heavily involve Stifler. Some of the reviews for this movie criticised the film for focusing on Stifler too much, and to some extent I agree with them. For example, it is Michelle’s big day and the film doesn’t focus on her enough, but that said, Stifler carries the film in a lot of scenes and without such a heavy emphasis on him, the film may not have been such a success.

So is American Wedding a fitting ending to the trilogy? It is probably the weakest in the series, but that may be more to do with the fact that I hold the other films in such high esteem. There are enough funny moments, and the ending is a fitting conclusion to the trilogy, so recommending this to fans of the previous movies is an easy decision. Recently there have been very few comedies which have made me laugh continuously, but American Wedding is made up of one joke after another. American Wedding is a perfect Saturday nights entertainment.

Video
Universal have served up this movie with a 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen transfer which is very pleasing to the eye, but not perfect. The previous two movies left very little to complain about, and this transfer is probably on par. The colour palette is rich and vibrant, while black levels were also solid, and this is especially evident during Stifler’s night club scene. As you would expect from a recent blockbuster there is no print damage, but I was slightly disappointed with the sharpness and clarity which appeared overly soft at times.

Grain is kept to a minimum throughout and for the most part edge enhancements are toned down. Compression artifacts are also not an issue and are mainly non-existent.  Overall this is a commendable effort by Universal, it’s fair to say that the disc isn’t free from faults but nevertheless it is still pretty impressive. Considering the number of extras on this disc and the fact that this is a single disc release, this is a transfer which will keep most fans happy.

Audio
Unlike previous releases of the American Pie movies, this disc only sports one soundtrack. Previous releases have included DTS tracks, but thankfully that is not the case here. I say thankfully because the American Pie films are not the type to use the full potential of DTS, and therefore the additional space on the disc could be put to better use. The track included with this disc is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track which considering the genre of the movie is above average. I don’t like to keep harping on about Stifler’s night club scene, but this section of the film makes full use of the soundstage. The musical score also uses the rears occasionally and considering the nature of this film, in some ways it is more active than some action movies I have seen recently. Dialogue is also crystal clear throughout and never gets overwhelmed by the musical score.

Subtitles are provided in English only which I am sure will bemuse our foreign readers, but if past history is anything to go by I am sure there will be future re-releases of this movie.

American Pie - The Wedding (Unrated)
Extras
As I mentioned earlier this title is released as a single disc edition, but even so there are an impressive number of extras to browse through. I am a big fan of deleted scenes, that is if they are done correctly and don’t just show rehashed scenes. With this disc there are over twenty minutes in total and unlike some DVDs, most of the Deleted Scenes are new and not just extensions of the original scenes. Also worth watching are the Outtakes. If you are a fan of outtakes then you are in for a treat with this disc. There are six minutes in total, which feature mistakes from various sections of the movie. Outtakes can sometimes be rather dry and boring, but that is not the case here.

Next up is a featurette called Stifler Speak. This featurette is introduced by Seann William Scott who talks about Stifler, and how the character has become insane for the third movie. The director also gives an insight into Stifler’s vocabulary and how Seann William Scott was perfect for the role. Probably the best aspect of this featurette is the footage from Seann’s casting tape from the first movie. This extra lasts for around seven minutes and is primarily a chance for the cast and crew to sing the praises of Seann William Scott. The next featurette is titled Enter The Dominatrix: Inside The Bachelor Party. This is a saucy behind the scenes look at the bachelor party, where members of the cast talk about their experiences during filming this scene. It is apparent from this documentary that the scene was completely off the cuff. There are lots of outtakes which are shown throughout this extra as well. There is also a section called ‘Finch Cam’ which is an additional camera used when filming. This extra lasts for nine minutes and is a perfect example of how the revolution of our favourite format has meant that directors think more about capturing DVD footage when filming the movie itself.

Also included on the disc are two commentaries. There is a Feature Commentary with Director Jesse Dylan and Seann William Scott and a Commentary with Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Thomas Ian Nicholas.  The commentaries are very much in line with previous releases. They are fun to listen to, but at the same time also offer a lot of interesting facts about the movie. It is obvious from both commentaries that the cast are good friends. The next extra is another featurette which is called Grooming The Groom. As the title suggests, this extra focuses on the character of Jim. It starts with Jason Biggs talking about his private parts, and how he tried to get them credited in the movie. The featurette then moves on to focus on the pubic hair scene which is one of the key set pieces in the movie.  This featurette lasts for around six minutes and is nothing special.

The next extra is one of my favourites mainly because it is original and has never been tried before. The extra is called Cheesy Wedding Video and is a mock wedding video which consists of various clips taken from the movie. The video is cleverly shot so that it looks like a real wedding video. This extra may only be three minutes long, but it has a certain nostalgic value and is worth watching. The final extra is entitled Nikki’s Hollywood Journal. This featurette follows Nikki Ziering (Officer Krystal) around on the day of the premiere of the movie. The featurette stars at 6.54 am where we get to meet Nikki at the gym. As the day progresses, we get to see her visiting a Dermatologist and also clothes shopping. This extra ends at the premiere and shows the star wandering up the red carpet area. This is another example of an extra which was made especially for the DVD.

American Pie - The Wedding (Unrated)
Overall
American Pie - The Wedding could have been a complete let down and have spoilt the whole series of films. Thankfully this is not the case, and what we are treated to is one of the best comedies of recent years, well since the last Pie movie at least! Some may call it the Stifler show, and that isn’t such a bad thing as he shines in every scene he takes part in. If you enjoyed the previous American Pie movies then you shouldn’t have any hesitation in purchasing this disc. Universal have also supplied a disc of the highest quality. The transfer may not be reference quality but nevertheless it is still a fine effort, the soundtrack is surprisingly good and the extras are in plentiful supply. It may only be January but I think we already have a contender for comedy DVD of the year.  


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