American Wedding (2003) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

American Wedding is the third and last film in the American Pie series, showing the characters as they make the transition into adulthood.

They chose a good topic. There are three things I can remember most clearly about my adolescence and young adulthood:

  • Period 1. Senior year of high school was a hoot. It was about hanging with friends every minute. It was also scary, in a way, because I was about to leave town, to say farewell to my family and to people I had seen every day for as many as twelve years. My friends were all in the same boat, either leaving town for college or leaving the country for military service. I knew that I would never see some of them again. The special bond of senior year is formed in the bright sunlight, but is made poignant by the dark clouds of separation appearing on the horizon.

  • Period 2. Somewhere between high school graduation and college graduation, I began to realize that females could bring something positive to my life. Before that, women were essentially distractions from card games, politics, drinkin', reading, and sports. Oh, yeah, you needed 'em to get laid, but it would be nice if you didn't have to invest all the time required to do so, and I usually didn't, to tell you the truth. That all changed some time during this period. I realized that there might be times when someone might actually prefer talking to a woman to playing football or poker. Like everyone else, I finally fell in love.

  • Period 3. There were a couple of years there, about five years after high school, when I seemed to be attending a wedding every weekend, including my own. After I got my B.A., I came back to my home town for two years before leaving forever. I taught some, acted some, went to grad school. All the people I knew in high school and college were getting married in that period, as were all the cousins with whom I had played in childhood. In virtually every case, the wedding marked an ending of some kind. My own wedding represented the fusion of my childhood with my student days, and the end of both. It was a massive affair, and it was the last time I would see my aunts and uncles and cousins and most of the school chums who showed up. Shortly afterward, I left town for good.

Those periods are special in most people's lives, and they are inevitably marked by an importance that seems greater and more evocative as the years pass. In retrospect, we all recognize how important those times were. At the time, we are simply living in the moment. In the "wedding cycle", we may even wish it didn't have to happen at all.

Each of these three periods provides the setting for one of the three American Pie films.

American Pie, as had so many "rite of passage" movies before it, used the senior year of high school as its setting, and reached deep beneath a farcical exterior to mine the emotional motherlode of our common recollections about those days. It doesn't matter which generation you belong to. You will probably find that American Pie stirs up some great memories.

In one important sense, American Pie 2 failed as a film. Oh, it was funny enough, but there was no deep emotional core from which to mine its storyline. Sure, Jim and Michelle each fell in love for the first time, and it was with each other, but there was nothing in the movie that reminded me of my first love. Their romance wasn't a real life thing, but a movie cliché - the guy falling in love with the woman who helps him pursue the sexy babe he originally has designs on. The ol' time-trusted Reverse Cyrano Gag. American Pie 2 didn't do such a good job with Period 2. The film had sentimental moments, but they seemed forced or cobbled into the comedy. Some guys hang out on the beach and throw a party at the end of summer. That movie was possibly just as funny as the first one, and I enjoyed it. But there was something missing. It was about the jokes, not about the characters.

American Pie 3: American Wedding returns to a very rich lode of "coming of age" memories. It manages to tap into the last period listed above, Period 3, the "wedding cycle". There is the uncomfortable process of melding two disparate families with different values. There are the stuffy and clueless relatives. There are the rowdy school friends who don't fit in with the respectable parents. There are all the wedding plans to be made and screwed up. There are raunchy bachelor parties to be held without either mom or the bride finding out about the precise activities involved. You know the drill.

In this case, the central conflict for Jim is that he wants to give Michelle the elaborate and sentimental wedding she has always dreamed about, but he knows this will not be possible if the plans include Steve Stifler, the insensitive, egotistical, horndog. Of course, Stifler sees the situation in his own way. When he finds out that his friends are planning to hold a wedding without him, he resolves to insert himself back into their plans. He has two parts to his scheme: (1) he gets himself placed in charge of the bachelor party. After all, everyone must concede, who is more qualified for this raunchy task than Stifler? (2) he pulls an Eddie Haskell, and puts on an insincere sensitive front for the benefit of Michelle's family, getting a wedding invitation through the back door, and eventually being entrusted with the wedding ring and Michelle's virginal younger sister.

Big mistake.

Of course, everything that Stifler touches turns to shit. In one case, that is literally true, when the Stifmeister allows Michelle's dogs to ingest the wedding ring. You see he had it in his pocket with the soft doggy treats and it got pressed in, and ...

If you think the set-up is disgusting, wait until you see what happens after the dogs ... um ... return the ring.

My favorite moment in the film comes when Jim calls a special meeting of the groomsmen before the wedding, thus interrupting Stifler's planned broom closet assignation with Michelle's sister. Jim delivers a speech in which he says, "I finally realized why I always seem to come through every predicament I get myself into, even though I'm always such a screw-up. It's because you guys are always there to cover my back. And I just wanna say ... (chokes on his own emotion) ... thanks." Stifler listens politely, waits until the moment is heaviest with emotion, then says "Thanks? Thanks? That's all this about? You interrupted what we were doing and called a special meeting just to say thanks?" Then he calls Jim a pussy or something, mumbles some curses under his breath, and runs off to his broom closet.


Unfortunately, Michelle's sister has been replaced with Jim's grandmother in the broom closet (don't ask) and it's dark in there and  - well, I guess you can figure out where the premise goes from there. As usual, the insensitive Stifler gets exactly what he deserves. The grandma probably gets far more than she deserves, but it sure restores a long-lost smile to her face, and that youthful glow to her complexion. This, of course, puts Stifler one generation up on Finch, the friend who slept with Stifler's mom. Stifler is not just a mofo, but a gramofo.

As in the other films, the friends may have their differences, but they are still friends and come through for one another when needed - even Stifler. Especially Stifler!

Have you noticed yet that this film is not really about Jim's wedding at all? Not only does it derail Jim, but it also shunts Jim's dad (the scene-stealing Eugene Levy) onto a siding, and gives Alison Hannigan and Fred Willard (as Michelle and her dad) absolutely no material to match their considerable comic gifts. This movie is about Steve Stifler.

DVD info from Amazon

  • Widescreen anamorphic format

  • unrated version

  • Option to view the theatrical (rated) version

  • Outrageous Deleted Scenes

  • Hilarious Outtakes

  • Enter the Dominatrix: Inside the Bachelor Party

  • Speaking Stiffler

  • Jim & Michelle's Wedding Video

  • Grooming the Groom, From Script to Screen

  • Feature Commentary with Stars and Filmmakers

Yes, this movie is funny. Of course, as people with no sense of humor will tell you, humor is subjective. People do laugh at different things, and for different reasons. There is the laughter of surprise, and the laughter of agreement. Some people will only laugh at the unfamiliar and original, and some will only laugh at the familiar things which they have heard before and which reinforce their world-view. Impossible as it is for a sane man to believe, there are people who think Mr Bean is funnier than The Simpsons, and who think Scooby-Doo is a laugh sensation. So all I can tell you is I thought it was funny. For the record, here are some things I find funny and unfunny, so you will be able to gauge the subjective element.


  Very Funny Kinda Funny Not Funny
Pairs of Allens Woody and Steve Fred and Tim Krista and Marty
Pairs of Marxes Groucho and Chico Harpo and Gummo Zeppo and Karl


So it was funny, at least by my standard, but to tell you the truth, there wasn't much that was original or very creative, and it was Tim Allen funny, not Steve Allen funny. It was mostly "formula comedy" - set Stifler on the top of the world, then let him fall into the grossest humiliation possible. Make him eat feces, have sex with an ancient woman, find out his dream girl has a penis, etc. It's generally pretty obvious stuff, and all of it a riff on his cum-drinking in American Pie, but it's so over-the-top and so well performed as to make you laugh in spite of yourself, even if you are not in the obviously targeted youth demographic. (The harshest critics said it "pandered" to that demographic.)


age IMDB score
below 18 8.4
18-29 7.1
30-45s 6.4
over 45 6.8
USA 7.4
outside USA 5.7

If you are an American under 18, you are likely to find it very funny. But the film probably should be called American Pie 3: Scared Stifler.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

There is no question that Stifler has now joined the pantheon of classic youthploitation characters. Jeff Spicoli, Frank the Tank, Lane Meyer, Ferris Bueller, and Bluto Blutarsky, meet Steve Stifler. Actor Seann William Scott gets all of the credit, for taking a character which was of miniscule importance in the first film and building him into such a popular figure that they wrote the third film as a starring vehicle for him.

Although he is a comic exaggeration, Stifler is a very logical extension of a classic American male stereotype, the guy with an insensitive exterior who is a real softie at heart. Indeed, if you think about it, Stifler has a lot in common with the quintessential American icon, Rick Blaine (Bogart's role in Casablanca).  Both have a hard-boiled, insensitive exterior, but underneath ...  a different story. Rick said he wouldn't help, but then he let the innocent young couple win at roulette so the young wife wouldn't have to sleep with Louis. Similarly, Stifler taught Jim how to dance the waltz, managed all the last-minute floral arrangements, and won a dance-off in a gay bar to get Michelle's wedding gown. The unsentimental guy who was avoiding ideology turned out to be an idealist, and the unsentimental guy who was to be cut out of the wedding ended up creating the entire ceremony in his own image.

As well it should have been.

The difference is that if you tried to thank Rick, he'd brush it off and change the subject or tell you to get back to work. If you tried to thank Stifler, he'd call you a pussy.

Stifler, u da man, buddy. U da man.


Amanda Swisten and Nikki Ziering show their breasts, as the bachelor party strippers.

Eddie Kaye Thomas and Jason Biggs (Finch and Jim) show their butts.

American Pie American Pie 2 American Pie 3
IMDB (/ten) 6.9 6.4 6.6
Rotten Tomatoes 61% 49% 56%
Metacritic 58 46 42
Yahoo B B- C
Yahoo voters A- A- A-
Roger Ebert (/four) 3 3 3
James Berardinelli (/four) 3 2 2.5

Click here for DVD info from Amazon

This DVD requires more attention than we usually devote to this section of the page.

First of all, do NOT buy the regular edition - get the extended party edition, because

  • 1. It costs the same.
  • 2. It has everything that is one the regular one, plus additional material.
  • 3. The entended unrated edition also has the complete r-rated version on the DVD, but the r-rated edition does not have the extended version (of course). Therefore, you're ripping yourself off by getting the r-rated one for the same price.

Note also that it is a fun DVD. I recommend it.

  • Deleted Scenes.
  • Hilarious Outtakes
  • Inside the Bachelor Party
  • How to Speak Stifler. This and the three features listed above are all narrated by the writer of the three American Pie films. Needless to say, Stifler also contributes.
  • Jim & Michelle's Wedding Video
  • Grooming the Groom, From Script to Screen
  • There are two commentary tracks, one with the director and Stifler, the other with the other cast members.
  • Widescreen anamorphic format


American Wedding (2003), or American Pie 3, should have been called the Steve Stifler story, since it is mostly about him. For those than enjoy his character, it is a laugh a minute. For those like me that can do entirely without insensitive louts, it is a very long watch. There were two bright spots for me in the film, however. They were Alison Hannigan and and Eugene Levy as Michele and Jim's dad. They deserved far more screen time.

I ordered the Limited Edition Gift Set, which includes the UNRATED Widescreen edition so well described in Scoop's review, a special three hour collection of behind the scenes stuff for all three films, and a Stifler T-Shirt. The nudity was provided by Amanda Swisten and Nikki Ziering as the bachelor party entertainment. This scene was greatly expanded in the UNRATED version with footage they shot for exactly that purpose. The material was never intended to be in the theatrical release, and did not cut in smoothly.

I am in the minority here, but liked this least of the three, and found very little about it funny, but it has a fairly wide level of acceptance, and is therefore a C+.

The Critics Vote

  • General panel consensus: two and a half stars. Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 2.5/4, BBC 3/5.

The People Vote ...

  • Box Office Mojo. Domestic gross: $105 million, overseas: $107 million. Production budget: $55 million. Marketing costs: @ $30 million. The numbers were a bit disappointing, because American Pie 2 grossed $145 million in the USA. (American Pie grossed $102 million).
Special Scoopy awards for excellence in criticism go to:

Order of merit in accuracy: James Berardinelli, Reel Views. If you think you're going to like American Wedding, you probably will. If you don't, you probably won't. The third entry into the American Pie series, this movie is a vast improvement over the tired and uninspired AP2, although it fails to make it to the lofty perch occupied by the first film. The recipe, which probably doesn't need additional refining, brings back some of the sweetness of the original American Pie, and combines it with the expected ingredients of excessive raunchiness and vulgarity.

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C+ (both reviewers). It is a solid raunchy comedy, and it is very raunchy indeed, if that's what you like.

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