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Monday, April 18, 2016

Reviews: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 1 and 2

Two Weddings, Many Greeks, and a Bottle of Windex

By Chris Sabga

My Big Fat Greek Wedding
When "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" came out in the late summer of 2002, it slowly built word-of-mouth, momentum, and goodwill that sustained it all the way through the winter. Audiences of all ages were talking about it – from grandparents to their grandkids and everyone in-between.

The premise: a Greek-American woman finds love with a man outside of her own ethnicity while dealing with her loud, colorful, and all-too-close family. (Outsiders might call them "overbearing.") The happy couple was Toula Portokalos (Nia Vardalos) and Ian Miller (John Corbett), and it was their "Big Fat Greek Wedding." But her boisterous family thought the wedding belonged to them – and they weren't necessarily wrong. Nothing a little Windex couldn't fix!

This Greek clan's wide range of eccentricities – including a father (played by the wonderful Michael Constantine) who thought Windex was the solution to all of life's problems – didn't alienate viewers at all. Instead, it had the opposite effect. People from all walks of life – whether they were Italian, Irish, Spanish, Mexican, Jewish, or Arab – were in complete agreement about the Portokalos family: "They're just like us. Our weddings are the exact same way!" That was the magic of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and the reason it became such a beloved phenomenon.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

That was fourteen years ago. Everyone is older and grayer now. Salt and pepper adorn their hairlines. In some cases, new wrinkles line their faces. What the original "Greek Wedding" had going for it was the element of surprise. It could – and did – become a sleeper hit because it was such an unexpected treat. "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2" has no such luxuries. It carries with it the love and heightened expectations people have from years of watching, re-watching, and endlessly quoting the first film.

But how could any sequel ever live up to such a lofty legacy?

It doesn't. It can't.

That's okay, though. There's no need for it to be as good as the first. Expectations can run in the opposite direction too. I couldn't possibly expect "Greek Wedding 2" to match the original. I just wanted to be entertained by this marvelous family once more – and I was. Keep in mind: this isn't "Star Wars" or James Bond," where a new installment is par for the course. There was never necessarily going to be a follow-up to "Greek Wedding." But here we are, almost a decade and a half later. That we have a sequel at all – and it's actually pretty good – is one of life's little delights.

As the recent "Fuller House" and "Girl Meets World" continuations prove, sometimes it's nice to see what your favorite characters are up to a decade or two later. The same is equally true of Toula, Ian, and the rest of their wacky relatives in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2."

Toula and Ian now have a daughter, Paris (Elena Kampouris). If you haven't seen the trailer, you might be mistaken in assuming this big, fat, Greek wedding will be for her. Instead, it's for Toula's parents, Gus and Maria (Michael Constantine and Lainie Kazan). Because of a minor technicality, their marriage 50 years earlier was never made official – the priest that presided over their nuptials never actually graduated from the seminary. I hate when that happens!

Everybody's favorite Greek, John Stamos, joins the cast in a small supporting role. Rita Wilson, who is one of the producers of both films (along with her real-life husband, Tom Hanks), appears on-camera this time as Stamos's wife.

As much fun as this "Wedding" is, there are times when these "big, fat Greeks" exhibit odd characteristics seemingly for the sake of it – and it can be a bit jarring. It sometimes feels like the script and actors are trying too hard and shouting from the rooftops, "We are characters in a comedy!" But that occasional lack of realism is balanced by many more quiet, personal, human moments that are genuinely funny.

This movie isn't going to cure your ailments or change your life – only Windex can do that – but I'm glad it exists.

Note from Silver Screen Lawyer: Windex does not actually have any healing, restorative, or mood-enhancing properties. Please do not spray it anywhere on your person, especially your private parts. Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. "Note from Silver Screen Lawyer: Windex does not actually have any healing, restorative, or mood-enhancing properties. Please do not spray it anywhere on your person, especially your private parts. Thank you!" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH....Too funny Chris. Great review. I was hesitant to watch this but you have changed my mind. I have enjoyed all movies you have recommended. Keep up the great articles.



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