TL;DR – This film has a truly terrible first impression but it grows on you with a good story and amusing characters
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
The first My Big Fat Greek Wedding was a sleeper hit back in 2002 and succeeded because it had a lot of charm, and it was quite different than a lot of the films of that time. So it has been 14 years since the first film so was the sequel worth the wait or do we have another Zoolander 2 on our hands, well, it’s complicated.
So to be honest this is quite a difficult film to review because ten minutes in and I loathed everything about it. How they reintroduced the family was haphazard and of course since it is the sequel you need to reset everyone back to where they were before the first film to force some character arcs on them, the whole “every word in the English language is actually Greek” gets old in about 30 seconds, ooo I’m Rita Wilson and I paid for the film so I’m going to get a cameo that feels really forced, and I’m sorry but I could not care for one moment about the poor plight of Paris (Elena Kampouris) and her “oh wow is my I have a family that cares for me and can pay for an American College, my life is the worse”. It was cliché on top of bad tropes on top of awful teen ‘angst’, however about 20 minutes into the film something changes. Now this change occurs roughly around the moment the film transitions mercifully from Paris to her grandparents Maria (Lainie Kazan) and Gus (Michael Constantine) and the revelation that due to a stuff up they are not actually married.
During this transition, we move from saccharin slosh to having emotional substance, from lazy stereotypes to real character development, from cringes so bad that you have to express your displeasure audible to jokes that land with a punch. It is such a transition that you have to wonder what when wrong with the first part of the film, was it shoehorned in, did we have to sit through that slush just to enjoy the rest of the film better, was it just bad writing, well who knows.
So what’s good with the film, well when the film finally gets back to the family at large the great casting finally reveals itself, with great performances by Nia Vardalos (Toula), John Corbett (Ian), Andrea Martin (Voula) and Angelo (Joey Fatone). There are some truly touching moments, with Mana-Yiayia (Bess Meisler) the ancient matriarch of the family being a surprise talent throughout the film. As well as this when we get to the titled wedding there is some truly heartfelt discussion over lives lived and lives lost.
So what’s bad, well even though it is pushed to the side we still have to suffer through the will Paris go to College in Chicago or New York subplot for the whole film. Also, there is this weird subplot, trying to get these bitchy white American women to like the family or not or whatever it just feels forced, like they were in the first film, so we need to have them around in this one too for some reason.
So can I recommend My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, um, maybe? Look I eventually quite enjoyed it, but you have to sit through a lot of rubbish before you get to the great parts of the film. So whether you want to do that or not is entirely up to you.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Directed by – Kirk Jones
Written by – Nia Vardalos
Starring – Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Elena Kampouris, Lainie Kazan, Michael Constantine, Andrea Martin, Joey Fatone, Louis Mandylor, Gia Carides & Bess Meisler
Rating – Australia: PG; Canada: PG; Ireland: 12A; NZ: PG; UK: 12A, USA: PG