My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
(PG) Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Elena Kampouris
Released in 2002, My Big Fat Greek Wedding is still considered one the crowning achievements of independent films. It broke many box office records worldwide, capturing the hearts of audiences along the way. This perfect storm of ticket sales and crowd pleasing was generated by the coming-of-age romance being able to capitalise upon the dynamics within ethnic families trying to keep their identity within a different culture.
Writer and lead actress Nia Vardalos’ original story struck a chord that has endured over the years — but will anyone really care for the Greek-American family she created, given they’ve been away for 14 years?
Over a decade after Toula (Vardalos) and Ian (John Corbett)were married and moved in next door to her Grecian family, the routine has taken priority over the romance in their lives. With her parents ageing, Toula has gone back to working for them in the family restaurant and Ian is the local high school principal. They are raising their high-school-aged daughter, Paris (Elena Kampouris), who is on the cusp of heading off to university. Along with the challenges of choosing a school, attempting to escape the suffocating world of the Greek culture and coping with the next stages in their lives, Toula’s extended family must contend with a secret that will change everything in their world.
There is something to be said about formulas; why mess with them if they work? This rings true throughout My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. Director Kirk Jones’ (Nanny McPhee) does not deliver any surprises in this revisit to a much beloved screen clan. He has been given us the next stage in the life of these popular characters and does not try to mess with the original blueprint. Almost all of the cast comes back and many of the same gags are incorporated to a new generation of fans. This will cause some to be disappointed but, for much of the audience, it will provide a certain level of satisfaction. Kind of like coming back into your parents’ house after being away for an extended period of time, there will be some level of anxiety that is joined with the joy of the familiar.
All of the characters become caricatures of the roles found in every family — The spoiled siblings, the dominating auntie, the lingering matriarch and the insufferable in-laws. But there were some highlights in this new Greek comedy. Andrea Martin as Aunt Voula steals every scene and takes full advantage of the one role that is given fresh material. Alongside her over-the-top antics, is the understated but endearing great grandmother, Mana-Yiayia, played with her own beautiful manner by Bess Meisler. Otherwise, the rest of the cast, including the leads, are left with a predictable script and situations that capitalise on the desire for people to appreciate the magic of the original film.
Similar to the feeling of coming home, the feelings from this film are like most of your dad’s jokes. They lack originality, which can breed contempt and a rolling of the eyes at the inevitable punchline, but a chuckle at the back of the throat. This script relies on the audience’s willingness to bear with the familiar and celebrate all that comes with being part of the family.
Like a family reunion, it is comfortable and harmless fun but, after awhile, you are ready to go home.
What are some of the bigger considerations from this film?
Family: For some, this sequel will bring a smile to their face and, for others, it will cause tears to well up in their eyes. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 does bring out the best and worst of the family experience. Yet, it always holds the value of family in high regard.
Family is a bittersweet gift that is given to us by God. Regardless of your personal reality with your own family, have you taken the time to show your parents, children and extended family the appreciation for the blessing that they are to you?
- What is sacrificial love? (John 15:13, Ephesians 5:25)
- What is the value of family? (John 15:12-17, Ephesians 5:21)
- How should we respond to difficulties in life? (Romans 5:3-5, 1 Peter 5:10)
Leaving the cinema…
Like sitting down on the lounge with a coffee and talking with your family about all that is going on tin their lives, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is familiar, but endearing.