out of Five
Running time: 100
The always watchable cast do their best but the script feels strained and a lot of the gags fall flat - sadly, the Pie isn’t as fresh as it used to be.
After the runaway success of both American Pie and its sequel, it was inevitable that a third helping would follow, even if it was just as inevitable that several cast members wouldn’t be around for the ‘threequel’ – Chris Klein, Tara Reid, Shannon Elizabeth and Natasha Lyonne are all conspicuous by their absence.
Sadly, the Law Of Diminishing Comedic Returns has well and truly set in and the Pie is beginning to look a little stale, despite the best efforts of the likeable cast.
Jim And Michelle Finally Take The Plunge
The plot revolves around the impending nuptials between the film’s original pie-shagger Jim (Jason Biggs) and his musical instrument-obsessed girlfriend Michelle (Allyson Hannigan) and includes their futile attempts to keep Stifler (Seann William Scott) away from the wedding.
However, Stifler soon insinuates himself into the wedding plans (courtesy of a deal where he teaches Jim how to dance) and things hot up when he and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) both fall for Michelle’s gorgeous sister Candace (January Jones - a name so perfect someone should write her her own TV detective show).
It’s fair to say that Jim’s propensity for sex-related accidents and
Stifler’s general awfulness were the main comic elements from the previous movies. The problem here, then, is that Jim is a lot less accident-prone this time round (the pubic hair in the ventilation system joke seems a bit pointless) and he’s more or less the straight man, barring the initial embarrassment of the opening proposal scene. (Allyson Hannigan doesn’t really get much to do either).
Stifler On Overdrive
Meanwhile Stifler has been ‘turned up to 11’ – admittedly he’s meant to be extremely obnoxious, embarrassing and hard to take but they got the balance right in the first two films whereas here he's out of control and his constant mugging seems like the film-makers are trying too hard.
That's not to say there aren't some good moments - there's a great bit where Stifler tries to score with Candace by pretending to be sweet
perfect-boyfriend type, so Finch retaliates by being obnoxious and
Stifler-like and gets better results, though they don't take this as far as they could. (The ‘dance-off’ in the gay bar is another highlight.)
Another feature of the previous film was the balance of gross-out set-pieces with heart-warming character moments. Look away now if you want to remain unspoiled, but be warned: the gross out bits are pretty disgusting. The worst scene involves Stifler eating dog shit and it's genuinely repulsive. So repulsive, in fact, it makes his grandmother-fucking scene later on seem positively acceptable.
The film’s not exactly awful but you still feel they could have put a bit more effort in and, given that the writer (Adam Herz) also wrote the previous two movies, it’s a shame it isn’t better than it is. Still, Eugene Levy's scenes are all comedy gems ("Dad...would you have turned down Nadia?" "Why? Did she say something?") and it also has a bachelor party scene with two hookers (French Maid, Dominatrix) that serves the same Shallow And Obvious function as the two lesbians in the 2nd film.
In short, the combination of likeable characters and watchable actors keeps this from falling too flat, but it’s likely to disappoint anyone expecting the comic heights (or depths) of the first two films.