I'm not sure I saved enough room for a third slice of American Pie, but here it is anyway, rechristened American Wedding, perhaps because Bachelor Party was already taken. Billing itself as "the thrilling climax" of this gross-out comedy franchise, American Wedding depicts the events leading up to the wedding day of Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) ' or, as they refer to themselves this time, the perv and the nymph. Jim isn't really a perv, of course. He just keeps getting caught in compromising positions, usually with his pants down. But Michelle, who sounds like Georgette on the old "Mary Tyler Moore Show," really is a nymph. Which is why the opening of American Wedding, in which Jim is supposed to propose to Michelle in a fancy restaurant, quickly devolves into an under-the-table homage to the fake-orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally, except Jim's the one with the orgasm and he isn't faking.
Enter Eugene Levy, who always seems to show up when Jim's ready to endure another bout of sexual humiliation. As a father who approached the birds and bees as if it was a geography lesson, Levy brought both humor and heart to the original American Pie. But what was once organic is now mechanical; we have a laugh machine on our hands, a series of setups and punchlines without a plot to hang them on. When Jim, the day before his wedding, decides to shave his scrotum, for instance, it's apropos of nothing other than the desire to hit us in the face with a wedding cake covered in pubic hair. These gag-me gags made more sense when the American Pie gang was still in high school. You can actually imagine a teenage boy shtupping a warm apple pie; it's either that or the tree out back. But these guys are supposedly out of college now. Shouldn't they have graduated to more adult forms of embarrassment?
All but one of them, perhaps. Seann William Scott's Stifler shows no signs of growing up, which is why Jim and Michelle try to banish him from their wedding. Luckily for us, they fail, and although the material Scott's been given to work with this time varies wildly in quality, he flings himself at everything, if only to see what'll stick. He isn't much of a comedian, but he has a devilish smirk and a willingness to make himself the butt of the joke. Speaking of which, the "chocolate truffle" scene makes one long for John Waters' Pink Flamingos, where Divine nibbled on actual doggie poo. (Let's hear it for artistic integrity!) And if American Wedding seems like fake doggie poo in comparison, that may be exactly what today's American pie-eaters are hungry for. Too bad, though. At its best, the original combined the raunch of Porky's with the camaraderie of Diner. Now, it's all raunch.