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<i>American Wedding</i> is Latest Installment in <i>American Pie</i> Franchise - 2003-08-02

The kids from American Pie are back for a third gross out comedy, full of raunchy jokes wrapped around a sweet story. Alan Silverman has a look at American Wedding.

It's four years since Jim and Michelle got together in high school in American Pie. Then it was on to college where they cemented their relationship in the 2001 sequel; and now they're ready for the next step.

Jason Biggs co-stars as Jim who finds new ways to shatter his confidence and publicly embarrasses himself.

"Yes, we're sticking to the same formula. We saw what worked the first two times; we're not going to be idiots and make a major departure from that," he explains. " So we have the same sort of approach to the set pieces and thematically we're talking about a wedding, which is sweet so in terms of the heart of the film I say it's more akin to the first film, which I think was a little bit sweeter than the second.

But fear not: I know you guys don't give a damn about the sweetness," he adds. " You're just there for the funny, which is just fine. We have the funny, I think."

Seann William Scott returns as irrepressible party animal Steve Stiffler.

"He was just kind of over the top . . . the guy who threw all the parties; and I thought that brought it a lot of fun qualities," says Scott. " He always kind of causes trouble and the other guys had to make up for it. It was just fun. It's a character that says and does a lot of bad things and then something outrageous happens to him, so everything balances out."

Alyson Hannigan co-stars as sweetly lascivious Michelle, n-o-t exactly the blushing bride.

"She was quite the character," admits Hannigan. " She was very identifiable ... and still is, especially with the band camp stuff; but I like that she's evolved and there's only so much annoyance you can love. I like that she's grown and become a woman."

Also back with words of wisdom for his son and new daughter-in-law: Jim's dad, played by Eugene Levy.

"American Pie was a huge turning point for me. There's no question about it," he says. "The movie hit big and created a following with kids. Even my own kids didn't give a hoot about what I did before American Pie. They knew I was an actor, but couldn't care less about seeing anything I was in. This was a huge thing. It was a balance of raunch and emotion that just hit a chord with the audience." The off-color humor and outrageous situations gave career boosts many of its stars, but Alyson Hannigan is pretty sure this is the last in the American Pie saga.

"This is a nice way to end the series," he says. " It's a trilogy now and I like that Jim and Michelle wound up getting married. I really love this movie and even if it hadn't been the third American Pie movie it still would have appealed to me."

Eddie Kaye Thomas and Thomas Ian Nicholas are back from the original American Pie cast. January Jones joins the ensemble as Michelle's innocent younger sister. Fred Willard plays the father of the bride; and Jennifer Coolidge makes a cameo appearance as the now-iconic 'Stiffler's mom.' American Wedding is directed by Jesse Dylan, whose brother Jacob Dylan and his band The Wallflowers provided a song for the soundtrack.