I come from a huge Italian family. We are loud, animated, rowdy and generous to a fault, so I really enjoyed the original My Big Fat Greek Wedding which was released in 2002 because it was comforting to know that crazy didn’t just run amok in our family. When my friend asked me to join her on Friday for dinner and a movie, I was excited to see if the sequel, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 was just as good as the original. Do sequels ever disappoint us? Find out after the jump.
In the original version of MBFGW, the story centered around a Greek girl, Toula (Nia Vardalos) who was well on the way towards spinsterhood according to her extensive family. It didn’t help that Toula was working long hours in the family restaurant or that she dressed in frumpy and unattractive clothing. Her family, although invasive, were comical in that they were so very much like my family.
In spite of her family’s strong opinions and interference, Toula meets and falls in love with the man of her dreams, Ian Miller (John Corbett). There is only one problem. He’s not Greek. With the help of a few sympathizers and a bottle of Windex, Toula not only changes her looks, but her job and finally walks down the aisle with Ian.
I’d seen the trailers for My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 and, it looked to be just as much fun as the first movie. How could the sequel fail? It had the same cast which included: Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Lainie Kazan, Michael Constantine and Andrea Martin, plus the story would center on Toula’s and Ian’s young daughter. The story had potential because it asked the question, “Do the young appreciate their heritage?”
Elena Kampouris, who plays Paris, did an outstanding job of underplaying her role against a cast that for most of the film went way overboard. It made her character more realistic. Paris has to decide on a college, but her family wants her to pick a school close to home. While this little drama is playing out, her grandparents discover that they were never legally married. What happens from there on is sometimes funny, but more often a parody of large immigrant families.
Toula has a problem saying no to both family and the lunch room moms. She has become a dowdy version of her former self because all her energy is put towards volunteering at her daughter’s school, working at her family’s restaurant and running her parents to their perspective doctor appointments. She is overwhelmed and her marriage is suffering. Luckily Ian is patient and Aunt Voula (Andrea Martin) is a fountain of romantic ideas that border on erotica.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 directed by Kirk Jones was not a hit with my friend. She thought the movie dragged in places. It did. She thought the events surrounding the marriage slip-up and subsequent steps to fix it were over played. They were. She couldn’t fathom a family being so tight knit as to be involved in every aspect of every family member’s life, but this is where we disagreed.
What I did like about the movie, in spite of its many faults, is that it did get the dynamics of a first and second generation family living in America right. Watching MBFGW2 brought back memories of my own family when my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles were all alive. We lived within a few city blocks of each other. Everyone knew everyone’s business which meant that the aunts and uncles felt free to comment frequently, to the horror of us nieces and nephews, on everything we were doing wrong with our lives.
What the film got right was the love and support given to Toula and Ian when faced with Maria (Lainie Kazan) and Gus’s (Michael Constantine) separation. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 reminded me of my own crazy family. My family was loud, animated and rowdy, but they stood by my side like an army of Ninja Warriors if anyone dared to hurt me, my siblings or my cousins.
Go see the film. If you come from a big family, you’ll enjoy it… and if you didn’t, you’ll at least understand why I’m the way I am.