“It’s time for me to boom-boom with the bridesmaids, Finch-f***er. ‘Cause I’m gonna hang out with my wang out, and rock out with my cock out”
I think the American Pie folks missed a trick here. I know that I watched the first film when I was in my latter years of school at the age of 15/16. Then American Pie 2 came about when I was about to leave for University in 2001 and then, mid-Uni, American Pie: The Wedding came about. I wasn’t going to weddings and I couldn’t relate. They had to strike when the iron was hot – and the drop from $145m to $104m between American Pie 2 and American Pie: The Wedding proves that the franchise was showing a little bit of strain… but what about an American Pie 3? as the guys graduate? We skipped a huge chunk of time and the entire film changed dynamics. No Heather, Vicky, Jessica or Nadia. No Sherman and crucially, No Oz.
Without Oz, Stifler seems to have very little connection to the guys. In American Pie, Oz and Stifler were friends via the La Crosse sport they played together and, in American Pie 2, he was just squeezed in as the guys needed a fifth person to fund the ‘summer they’ll never forget’ – but it worked because Oz and Stifler generally stuck together and you could see they were close friends at University. But Oz isn’t in American Pie: The Wedding. Stifler, it turns out, is a bus driver and crashes their engagement party, inviting himself. Furthermore, it turns out he is a skilled dancer. However uneven this aspect is, Stifler seems to adapt. Initially, he is absolutely crazy. His attitude is rude and confrontational – ruining the cake, making fart-sounds, fu*k-this, fu*k-that and constantly laughing with a hysterical edge. He really seems unhinged… until Cadence (January Jones Pre-Mad Men) arrives and Stifler changes to become Finch-like (as Finch becomes the Finchmeister). This obscure narrative is so successful as we are back again in American Pie guy-chasing-girl zone.
I even feel that they are almost apologetic to the gay-community. American Pie 2 presented a porn-version of lesbianism which though catering to the teenage-boy audience, it also presents a stereotype sex-obsessed women who are only too keen to strip-off in front of the guys. Not to mention how, it turns out, the girls are not even gay and therefore fall for the irresistable Stifler by the end montage. American Pie: The Wedding presents us with a loveable gay character in ‘Bear’ (Eric Allan Kramer) and uses the gay-community to mock Stifler’s macho-pride – his hyper-masculinity and homophobia is an image and, in this environment unlike the high-school and Uni-campus, he is out of his depth. But this is flipped again as Stifler has a feminine-edge in his dancing – winning over ‘Bear’ and, neccessarily, the dress-maker Lesley. When Stifler is laughed at, I find the scene fascinating – as if suddenly Stifler himself may have realised how isolated his outlook is. Especially when you consider how, in American Pie, as Oz is singing and dancing post-La Crosse match, Stifler’s comment is: “my god, you’re gay”. Who was to know that Stifler was a skilled dancer even then?
It is a shame to think that, if The Hangover was released before this film, the filmmakers could’ve learned a few tricks, but I think that they had a limited time to capitalise on brand of American Pie. Eugene Levy remains the stand-out feature and his scenes with Jim and Michelle can make you feel a little weepy – if only everyone had the bond like Jim and his Dad. Kev and Stifler’s Mom are merely standing in the background and the jokes remains consistent to the previous films – the pie incident that turned into the glued-VHS incident … consequently turned into a short pubic-hair incident. The Stifler-joke inevitably led from sperm to urine to, inevitably, shit. He’s eaten and drank it all. I can see why it had to stop then – but the films were consistent. All three films made over $100m, Rotten Tomoates rates the films with 59%, 52% and 55% respectively. To think the Saw franchise managed to run 7 films before stopping, there is a slight shame in the lack of American Pie 4: The Baby or American Pie 5: The Family. They had good characters but maybe Finch marrying someone other than Stifler’s Mom would simply not work. Though there was one direction they could’ve gone … at the end of the gay-nightclub sequence, ‘Bear’ makes an introduction to Kev … could Kev be gay? I think, for the same reason Chris Penn’s ‘Stiflers Dad’ role was cut out of American Pie 2, the real drama couldn’t be tackled in depth. Therein lies the difficulty in making another film …