Movie review: A ‘Big Fat Greek’ comedy sequel
–Back in April 2002 a little comedy movie opened with just over $597,000 on 108 screens. That could easily have been near the end. Even in 2002, less than $1 million on opening weekend was a tough pill to swallow.
But “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” was a movie that had great word of mouth and quickly developed legs. The film remained in theaters for nearly a year – reporting weekend Box Office numbers through April 13, 2003 – and went on to make more than $240 million. It was a hit with fans, and one that has endured more than a decade later.
On March 25, just shy of 14 years after the release of the original, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” picks up the story of Toula (Nia Vardalos), her husband Ian (John Corbett) and her crazy close Greek family.
The film sees Ian as a successful high school principle, while Toula spends her days volunteering at their teenage daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris) school and working for her parents at their restaurant. Her family still lives right on top of each other, and not a moment goes by when they’re not in each other’s business.
Toula’s father, Gus (Michael Constantine), sets out to prove he’s a direct descendent of the great Greek Alexander the Great. In the process of submitting family history papers he makes a disturbing discovery – he and Maria (Lainie Kazan) aren’t legally married. Despite nearly 50 years together, their marriage certificate is missing a priest’s signature, making it invalid.
Gus wants to get married quickly, but Maria sees this as a chance to push for the romance – and recognition – she’s long felt was missing in her relationship. Their impasse causes strife for the family, who have to try to come together to pull off a long overdue wedding for Gus and Maria.
Meanwhile Toula is dealing with the idea of being an empty-nester, trying to maintain the spark in her own marriage, and learning to let go a little when it comes to her own daughter.
“My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is a Cinderella story of sorts. It’s about a little, personal film that found its audience and scored big. During the summer of 2002 it was the “it” movie at the theaters. Everyone saw it and everyone was talking about it.
It also helped make Vardalos a more recognizable star. And there has long been talk of revisiting the family. But for more than a decade, nothing happened. For those who are fans of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” this sequel is worth the wait.
All the familiar characters are there, and the story follows some familiar patterns. Vardalos, Corbett and the ensemble slip easily back into their roles. Time has passed and the focus of the story has changed, but the relatibility of the story hasn’t changed. It’s as fun and heart-warming as it ever was.
The story is somewhat predictable and goes through a few lulls, but it works. The humor is sweet and, for the most part, family friendly. There are some fun cameos from Rita Wilson and John Stamos, too, that lighten things up.
Vardalos is great in this role. Her timing works well and, since she wrote the screenplay and based in on her family, she has a great feel for the material. She and Corbett still work well together on screen and make a fun couple. But the real star of this film is Andrea Martin, who is great as feisty Aunt Voula
If you liked the first film, you’ll enjoy the second one, too. It doesn’t feel like the kind of movie that will be as big a sensation because it’s not overly original, but it’s nice to revisit these characters and this world. And it makes for a fun date movie.
“My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” has been rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for some suggestive material.
Three stars out of four.