Take a Drink: whenever anyone tells Toula to fix something
Take a Drink: Windex
Take a Drink: “Get married and make Greek babies.”
Take a Drink: when the snooty neighbors are on-screen
Take a Drink: every time someone explains the Greek origin of a word
Take a Drink: at every mention of Alexander the Great
Take a Drink: every time Aunt Voula tells a story about her anatomical oddities
Take a Drink: whenever Mana-Yiayia does something bizarre
Do a Shot: whenever any characters do
By: BabyRuth (Four Beers) –
Fourteen years later, here comes the sequel you’ve been begging for! Well, okay, here comes the sequel you were always secretly hoping for! Um, the sequel that when you heard about it thought “Oh, yeah. I remember that movie. Sure, I’ll check it out. Maybe it’ll be cute.” Yes?
Sure. Why not?
We last left Toula (screenwriter Nia Vardalos) and Ian (John Corbett) in a flash-forward epilogue a few years after their wedding, which as you know, was big, fat, and Greek. They had a little girl and a house next door to Toula’s parents.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 picks up a decade later. Their little girl, Paris (Elena Kampouris) is now seventeen and looking at colleges. Colleges far, far away from her big, fat, Greek family. It’s hard to blame her; the family is smothering and loud and everywhere, her own mother included. Yup, Toula seems to have forgotten that she had been in the exact same situation as Paris and is now as clingy as the rest of them, hoping her daughter will decide to attend a school in Chicago to stay close to home.
Paris is semi-rebellious. We know this because she wears a lot of eyeliner and ripped jeans.
Besides stressing about Paris, Toula also has her hands full with taking care of her aging parents and helping run the family restaurant (the travel agency where she used to work closed years ago). This leaves little time for romance with Ian, who is now the principal at their daughter’s high school.
Because the title demands it, a wedding must again happen. This time it’s Toula’s parents Gus (Michael Constantine) and Maria (Lainie Kazan), who learn through a plot contrivance of Gus tracing his ancestry to find out if he is a descendant of Alexander the Great (of course) that they are not technically married because the priest never signed their marriage certificate. But before she’ll agree to the wedding, Maria wants the genuine proposal from Gus that she never got the first time around. Instead of just doing it, stubborn, old, Greek Gus won’t indulge her. Oh no! Will the wedding happen? I’m sure the suspense is killing you.
It’s fun – at least at first – to catch up with that wacky Portokalos family and pretty impressive that the entire original cast was assembled all these years later. It’s like watching an actual family reunion.
Vardalos and Corbett slip back into their roles with ease, displaying the same sweet chemistry that made audiences fall in love with the first film.
Though the humor is more of the same, there are a few laugh out loud moments thanks to scene-stealing Andrea Martin as the oversharing Aunt Voula and Bess Meisler, who takes Mana-Yiayia to a whole new level.
There are a few touching moments mixed in, including a character’s reveal of a secret and a well-executed montage featuring several generations at different stages of love.
Plus, if you’ve ever wanted to hear Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” sung in Greek, well, you are in luck!
I’m sure Nia Vardalos has always had plans for a Greek 2 on the backburner and with the recent trend of sequels to decade-old hit films, it makes sense that she’d chose now to strike.
But for a film fourteen years in the works, it feels very slapped together and rushed. The multiple storylines are episodic (maybe leftover unused ideas from the short-lived 2003 sitcom?), resolved almost as quickly as they are presented and with little conflict. Many are introduced halfway through the film. There’s just way too much going on and not enough time to devote to each subplot. On top of that, we get an update on nearly every member of the large family. It’s all over the place and exhausting.
Vardalos doesn’t even bother to work out logistical details like, why would the family schedule the wedding the same day as their daughter’s prom? (Also, since when do proms take place in the afternoon?)
My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a sweet little movie that is endlessly rewatchable. You know, one of those reliable lazy Sunday afternoon couch flicks. Speaking of, I watched it recently before seeing the sequel. After viewing the two so close together, it’s hard to describe, but the follow-up just feels off.
You know when a band breaks out with an incredible debut album? They’re hungry, driven, and have poured their hearts and souls into it – and the result is the culmination of years of hard work that comes through in the music. Then they make it big, and aren’t so hungry anymore. So they try to recapture the original magic in each subsequent release but it just never feels the same. Of course often there are drugs involved and egos and solo projects and what was I talking about again? Oh yeah, so the problem with MBFGW2 is that it fails to recapture the feel of the first film the same way a band can’t recapture the feel of their breakout album.
Characters that came off appealingly quirky in the first film become exaggerated caricatures in the second. They never seem like people who would exist in real life. Much of the attempted humor lands with a thud, including an overlong gag of the family attempting to teach Gus to use a computer and a terrible wedding night joke that probably only Bill Cosby would find amusing.
I’m definitely not complaining about John Stamos’ presence in MBFGW2, after all, he is Greek and he’s also John Stamos. Those are the two main only reasons he’s there. He shows up in about three scenes long enough to mug for the camera (cue the squeals of middle-aged women) and pick up a quick check. I mean, you’ve got John Stamos- give him something to do!
Co-producer Rita Wilson also shows up as Stamos’ wife and I don’t even think she had a single line of dialogue.
“Why are we here again?”
As a fan of the first film, I was hoping for the best here but left the theater disappointed. There are a few funny moments (courtesy of Andrea Martin and Bess Meisler) but it’s mostly just a rehashing of the same jokes and sight gags from the original. Vardalos juggles way too many storylines for any to hit with the intended effect. It somehow manages to be overambitious and uninspired at the same time. Still, most fans of the first film will probably enjoy it so it’s maybe worth a watch, eventually, at home, but not something to pay to see in a movie theater. Instead go see, uh, well, actually… from what I’m hearing just avoid your local cinema altogether this weekend.