For those of you that watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding back in 2003, it was a surprise blockbuster hit. Many people in the audience could identify with the quirky and eclectic family norms presented. I know I definitely could relate to some of the loud, crazy antics on screen with my European heritage. In the sequel, we find our protagonists, Ian and Toula, surrounded by the same loud and rambunctious family, although some details have changed.
Now thirteen years later comes My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. Ian (John Corbett) and Toula (Nia Vardalos) have been married for almost twenty years. They have one daughter, Paris (Elena Kampouris), who is university bound; the recession has forced Toula to close her travel agency down for good and there’s always one fire or another that good old, dependable Toula has to put out. Trying to solve everyone’s problems and making peace eventually has its’ toll on her and Ian’s marriage, because she invests way too much time with her own family and not enough with her husband and daughter. Paris, for her part, is completely mortified of her family. Ah, being 18 and embarrassed by your family. Seems legit to me.
Paris has a decidedly different view of family life. As with any other 18-year old who longs for freedom, Paris applies to universities that are out of state, in an attempt to put some distance between her and her very loud, brash extended Greek family. And of course, what’s a family story without a little romance? While Paris has the first stirrings of romantic love for a boy named Bennett, it is discovered that her grandparents, Gus (Michael Constantine) and Maria (Lainie Kazan) Portokalos, are not actually married. As in, when finding the old marriage certificate, the absence of the priest’s signature makes the once legal document null and void. And what is a family wedding without sarcasm, humiliation or being embarrassed?
In a funny comedic twist of events, Maria decides she wants to go all out for the wedding and almost turns into one of those crazy bridezillas that you see on a reality television show. Of course, with so many people having an opinion about one thing or another, Maria gets frustrated and throws in the towel. Surprisingly, it’s Ian’s very conservative parents, Rodney (Bruce Gray) and Harriet (Fiona Reid), which pitch in to make the wedding happen. Pay attention to the limo scene, where a few old men “tie one on” and oh my God, I have to say, they looked like they were having a very good time! With any sort of wedding planning, there’s always going to be some stress and some surprising revelations. Remember cousin Angelo (Joey Fatone) – yes, he has a surprise for his family. As for Paris, when she sees just how much her family loves her and would do anything to make her happy, she comes to her own conclusion that they aren’t so bad after all. The only problem is when you’re 18, on the brink of falling in love and you get asked to the prom, well, you shouldn’t have to stress out about whether to go to the prom or whether you have to attend your grandparent’s wedding – which both fall on the exact same day!
While I didn’t get the same rip-roaring laughter like I did when I watched the first movie, this one is good for a few laughs and possibly relating to how silly, loving, dramatic and eccentric our families can be. It’s funny when you’re younger, you can’t get away from your family fast enough. However, with time and maturity, most of us come to the realization that even though they can drive you up the wall and around the bend, having a family isn’t such a bad thing after all.
I’d say this is one of those movies that would be particularly partial to women, you know, a ‘chick flick.’ So, if you have a bunch of girlfriends over, tune into this one. And pass the ouzo! Opa!
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 debuts Saturday, December 10 at 8:00pm.