Was the moviegoing public really clamoring for a reheated sequel to the 2002 surprise hit “My Big Fat Greek Wedding?” The lackluster “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” is nothing more than rudimentary sitcom humor thinly stretched into a 90 minute fluff film. This movie is much better suited to be a television movie of the week than a theatrical release. This stale film has zero charm, is formulaic, and relies on references to ethnic heritage as a substitute for true comedy. This sequel reeks of desperation and drowns in its fake wackiness and forced, faux sentimentality.
There actually is a bit of a plot here — Toula (Nia Vardalos) and Ian (John Corbett) are married and dealing with the fast approaching high school graduation of their college-bound daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris). As usual, Toula’s obnoxious family is still too close — they all live on the same Chicago block, they all have gaudily painted houses, they are in everyone else’s family business, and they work at a — wait for it — Greek restaurant. (Perhaps a better title for this film would’ve been “Greek Greek-ity Greek Greek Greek: Part 2”). When a family ancestry search unearths a 50 year old unsigned wedding license, Toula’s parents decide that they need to finally make their union legal. Spoiler alert: this one also ends with a big fat Greek wedding! Didn’t see that coming!
There you have it, that’s the plot. That’s it. This whole ridiculous storyline punches the audience in the face with tired, dated Greek-themed gags, lame attempts at Greek-themed humor, and I did more eye-rolling during this screening than I have in a long while. If this movie was intended to be amusing and funny, it fails miserably because I just found the whole thing to be really sad. It started with the over-the-top stereotypes (maybe this stuff is humorous to people of Greek heritage) and goes downhill from there. Even famous Greek actor John Stamos shows up in a pointless cameo as a local newscaster.
Do people really live like this? Confined by family obligations, smothered by clingy siblings and aunts and parents and grandparents, staying close just “because”? No wonder Paris can’t wait to go away to a college that’s as far away as possible from her oppressive, controlling extended family.
I think it was supposed to be funny when the entire clan crashes a college recruitment fair (they boorishly barge in, loudly arguing and fighting while carrying enormous dishes of baklava) and bullies the admissions officer at Northwestern University into accepting Paris since it’s so close to home. It’s sad that Toula and Ian have to schedule a date night because they never go out anymore — when they finally get to enjoy a nice dinner and decide to make out in the car afterwards, they are interrupted by the entire family yet again. If that’s your idea of humor, you’ll enjoy this movie. Me? I spent 90 minutes feeling glad that this isn’t my life.
I never saw the first “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” After seeing the sequel, I have absolutely no desire to go back now and check it out.
“My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” joins Toula (Nia Vardalos) and Ian (John Corbett) twenty years after the events of the first movie. They now have a daughter, Paris (Elena Kampouris) and they live next to Toula’s parents and siblings in a suburb of Chicago. Paris is seventeen and ready to leave home for college, and Toula is struggling with letting go of Paris and seeing her little girl all grown up. Toula and Ian are dealing with impending empty nest syndrome and trying to reconnect with one another as a married couple. In the midst of all of this, Toula’s parents learn that their marriage certificate was never signed by the priest from their hometown in Greece, which leads to the titular “big fat Greek wedding.”
While clearly billed as a comedy, this movie wasn’t very funny. Much of the “comedy” is mined from the close-knit Greek family. They’re all likeable enough. Although none of them are particularly good actors (with the exception of Andrea Martin‘s Aunt Voula), Toula’s extended family feels authentic. The story itself is realistic enough for the most part (except for the scenes in teenage Paris’s high school – those teens don’t exist in any school, anywhere and never have). There are some genuinely sweet moments here, but they are relatively scarce and ignored in favor of jokes that were written for a very specific audience. If you can relate to these characters and their lives, it might be very funny to you. To the rest of us, it’s neither interesting nor funny.
Look, this movie wasn’t made for me. If you’re one of our readers, it probably wasn’t made for you, either. The target audience is clearly middle-aged and older women (who comprised 98% of the audience when we saw it), and they were laughing heartily for the first 30 minutes or so, but even those laughs tapered off as the movie stretched on. Simply put, there isn’t enough substance to keep this movie entertaining or compelling.