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|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E||
dir-scr Michael Ian Black|
with Jason Biggs, Isla Fisher, Joe Pantoliano, Joanna Gleason, Matt Malloy, Edward Herrmann, Margo Martindale, Michael Weston, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Heather Goldenhersh, Chris Diamantopoulos, Jay O Sanders
release UK 1.Jun.07, US 17.Aug.07
06/US MGM 1h30
Soulmates? Biggs and Fisher
This film's sharp and funny script is somewhat undermined by a barrage of American Pie stupidity. So much so, that it feels like a wannabe sequel, right down to the leading man. But it's actually better than that.
Even a year later, Anderson (Biggs) is struggling to recover from a disastrous wedding proposal. His straight-talking best friend Ted (Weston) keeps pestering him to snap out of it, so on a whim Anderson proposes to the first woman he meets, the bubbly diner waitress Katie (Fisher). And she says yes. Now they have to decide if this is such a good idea, and meet each other's extremely lively parents. This includes Katie's jailbird dad (Pantoliano), who is somewhat determined to walk his baby bear down the aisle.
A relatively intelligent script makes this film more engaging than most brainless rom-coms, with sharp dialog and colourfully well-defined characters. The side roles are the most fun, from Moss-Bachrach and Goldenhersh as Katie's gypsy circus-performer pals to Herrmann and Martindale as Anderson's lusty parents. The cast brings these people to life with an attention to detail that's unpredictable and often hilarious.
Meanwhile, Biggs and Fisher are charming in the less-wacky central roles, neither of which is much of a stretch (see American Pie and Wedding Crashers). But they both burst with energy, and have terrific chemistry as awkward, loveable losers. As actors, both are utterly fearless, willing to look deeply dorky and also to indulge in almost pathological cuteness. They also spend rather a lot of time in various stages of undress, even though it's all sniggering innuendo and no actual sex.
The film as a whole is likeable enough to keep us smiling even through the lame prison sequences, the corny Jewish toy gags, a Pie-style father-son chat about sex, and a ludicrous Mexican stand-off with the cops. As the plot escalates into complete pandemonium, we hope it will shift into high gear with an inspired pay-off. But while it keeps us chuckling, the big finale feels too fragmented and chaotic, going for big-scale farce rather than the sweetly goofy conclusion we were craving.
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© 2007 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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