Monday, August 4

Of Weddings and Lesbian Hitmen - No one is shocked by the dismal performance of the Affleck-JLo stinker Gigli this weekend. I am however moderately surprised by the success of American Wedding, which Jamie and I saw on Sunday. I might have preferred to check out the stylish Ebert-approved Tomb Raider, but after Jamie's prodding, I guess it was worthwhile to finish up the American Pie franchise -- the better to compare where we've come from and where we're going.

Despite the return of the ensemble cast, it's hard to ignore that American Wedding appears to chiefly be a vehicle for Seann William Scott, who is growing less adorable as his Steve Stiffler's character ages. His costars' poorly plotted nuptials are little more than the backdrop for Stiffler's antics, and while Scott clearly has some comic range, this particular joke is wearing a bit thin. A couple of other notes: The Hollywood magicmakers again envision a world where testasterone-addled American 20-something males like Stiffler are completely unfazed by (or perhaps enjoy) the amorous attentions of gay men. (Not that Scott is stupid to play to that fanbase.) In fact, they make that development a substantial subplot in the movie -- quite a departure from the central trajectory of the series. As for other additions -- Fred Willard and Deborah Rush play the most white-bread WASPy parents of an Irish bride I've ever seen.

Alas, the Pie's gone stale. Scott drives home several jokes through pure manic energy, but I don't think anyone is going to be sorry if Jim and Michelle's wedding is the last we hear of the gang from East Great Falls High. Besides, aren't the kids who came of age in 1999 with the first installment just about out of the prime selling demographic by now anyway?