Directed by: Jesse Dylan
Written by:Adam Herz
Starring: Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, Alyson Hannigan, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Eugene Levy, Fred Willard
Released: August 7, 2003
Grade: A-

Back in 1999, I marked American Pie with a B.  Two years later, I graded American Pie 2 a B+.  Now, I’m awarding an A- to the final instalment of the beloved series, American Pie: The Wedding.  This isn’t to say the films have gotten progressively better.  What I do say is that over time, I’ve developed a greater appreciation for these characters and writer Adam Herz’s distinctive comedy.

The title speaks for itself – this story revolves around a wedding.  Well actually, the film revolves around Stifler.  Since the original film (his screen debut), Sean William Scott has become an icon for his generation and his role in this last film is bigger than any other cast member.  I couldn’t quite understand why he was so despised by his “friends” at the start of American Pie: The Wedding (he was left off the wedding invitation list) but you know that it’ll all work out in the end.

Jason Biggs is another actor who deserves praise for his work both on and off the screen.  The label - “the guy who fucked the pie” - could easily have left a stigma that would impede his career.  Many casting agents saw him as a one-hit wonder.  Those doubters will soon be silenced with acclaimed directors Woody Allen and Kevin Smith (Clerks) selecting him to appear in their upcoming releases.  If anyone has seen Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back (in which he plays himself) or seen a TV interview, you’ll know he doesn’t care what people think about his entrance into Hollywood and is the first person to laugh at himself.

Not everyone returned for the third film.  Chris Klein (as Oz), Tara Reid (as Vicky), Mena Suvari (as Heather), Natasha Lyone (as Jessica) and Shannon Elizabeth (as Nadia) are not seen here.  All were rumoured to have been asked but turned down the opportunity.  In all honesty, the film loses very little from their lack of appearance.  It’s also the third different director of the series but the key, in my opinion, is keeping original writer Adam Herz who knows the heart of the story better than anyone.

With Jim (Biggs) and Michelle (Hannigan) getting ready to tie the knot, the fun begins.  All Stifler (Thomas) can think about is a bachelor party and hot bridesmaids.  Paul (Thomas) and Kevin (Nicholas) stand by Jim and help plan proceedings as the joint “best man”.  The parents from both sides of the wedding party find themselves part of crazy misadventures to keep the event running smoothly.

No other film this year has generated such a physical response from the audience.  People were roaring with laughing, cringing with horror and generally wriggling all over the place at some of the jokes.  These jokes are never overplayed – it may be toilet humour but director Jesse Dylan as the impeccable sense of timing and knows exactly when to move on to the next scene.

For sure, this will be the last in the American Pie series.  It’s been a fun ride and these films will have a permanent place in DVD collections across the world.  As I’ve said before – they have both humour and heart.  When you think about it, few films have this valuable combination.