Many thanks to everyone who wrote in to ask whether I had been knocked off the net by the great Eastern Seaboad Powercut (as opposed to a Seeboard Power cut). Actually, no one wrote to me, but as it happens I was almost entirely by the powercut, to the extent that I didn't even have to go around and reset any clocks, although an unattended computer did reboot. Thanks for your concern.

Robert Eger Hates The Movies -- American Wedding

Sometimes this job is just too easy.

What we can only hope is the last in the "American... " series, American Wedding completes the trilogy begun with American Pie and American Beauty. I hadn't seen the first two movies, but that didn't stop me trying to claw my way out of the cinema before the end of the first scene.

As far as I can work out, this film is supposed to be a comedy. Unfortunately, there's only about one funny line and one mildly amusing scene. The rest consists of the sole named writer trying to construct humour out of supposedly hilarious situations. This is farce written by an arse. Isolated scenes which have no bearing on each other attempt to engineer awkward situations for the protagonist to be embarassed in. Inevitably, these fail to amuse, and instead just peter out when the potential for 'hilarious' misunderstandings have run out.

I'm not opposed to farce and broad humour; a well-crafted nob gag is possibly the finest thing that human civilisation has yet produced. But what the producers don't seem to realize is that you can't just toss off a nob gag. You have to take your nob-gag in hand, mould it into shape; you have to polish your nob gag if you want it to come to anything. Otherwise, it is just sucky. And this movie is filled with sucky nob gags. Several of these occur in a scene where Alyson Hanigan is supposedly fellating the lead character (I forget his name) under a table while he has a conversation. A perfect opportunity for a plethora of well-honed double entendres, but through pacing and delivery, these all fall flat. When Hanigan re-emerges, there are ample opportunities for a legion of spunk jokes, but none come forth. Oh well, one swallow does not a summer blockbuster make, but it would have helped. In fact, Hanigan doesn't seem to be trying very hard. She plays her character with a bored insouciance, identically to the radically different character of Willow. So much for range.

There are a couple of other characters. There's a guy called Stifler, played by someone who seems to think he's Jim Carey. Quite why is unclear, since Jim Carey is incredibly annoying, and a twentysomething Jim Carey wannabe is even more so. There's Finch, who is about the only character in the movie you don't end up despising, and then a third friend who doesn't actually seem to have any lines or role, which leaves you wondering why they bothered.

Here's a quick test: do the concepts of sex, shit, private parts and bestiality make you roll around on the floor gurgling in amusement as you lose bladder control without any need for context, purpose or reason? If so, then you might think that this film is all right. But I'm never going to the movies with you even if you are wearing the rubber pants.

Three thumbs, way down.

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