Bigger Fatter, And More Greek

My_Big_Fat_Greek_Wedding_2_poster
Wikipedia

My Big Fat Greek Wedding seemed fine on its own. Oh sure, there was the short-lived, ill-fated TV series, My Big Fat Greek Life, but the characters were at their best in the original film. Still, when a sequel came along in 2016, there didn’t seem to be any complainers. I know I sure didn’t.

How did it go over? Well…

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OK, like the first movie things open early in the morning, with Gus (Michael Constantine) driving Toula (Nia Vardalos) to Dancing Zorba’s. He’s still saying, “You gotta get married soon. You starting to look old.”

Only thing is, he’s saying it to Toula’s seventeen-year old daughter, Paris (Elena Kampouris), who’s hunched over in the back seat, looking all emo with her black eyeliner and hoodie. Toula’s horrified, Paris is mortified, and it all gets worse when Toula jumps out of the car at Paris’s high school and tries to smooth things over.

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Paris already feels like she’s under a microscope because Toula is always in her business and her dad, Ian (John Corbett) is the school principal. As she tells Ian, the other kids see her as an automatic narc. She can’t even go to a college fair without the entire family coming along en masse, with Mana-Yiayia (Bess Meisler) hefting a Tupperware container of spanikopita and Yiayia Maria (Lainie Kazan), Aunt Voula (Andrea Martin) and various family members lining up to take selfies. They want Paris to go to Northwestern and find a Greek boyfriend, but Paris has other ideas.

Yep, everyone’s gotten older since the last movie. Kids have been born or grown up. The travel agency and dry cleaner shop are closed because of the bad economy, well, that and travel agents are passé. Toula’s back to working at Dancing Zorba’s and she and Ian are feeling blah lately in their marriage. She’s even back to wearing her old glasses, temporarily, after Gus accidentally breaks her current pair. She also feels as if she needs to say yes to everything and fix everything.

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Aunt Voula advises Toula to take her husband on a date. Look fabulous, flirt, and above all, don’t talk about Paris. Toula and Ian make a game effort, although it’s a little tough to get hot and heavy in their SUV without their family walking by.

In the meantime, Gus is recovering from a bad hip, and for some reason he decides to prove he’s a direct descendant of Alexander the Great. To his absolute horror, Gus finds his and Maria’s marriage certificate, which was never signed by their priest in Greece fifty years ago. They were never legally married.

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Ασθμαίνω (Gasp). Πάλι (Again).

Maria laughs her sides off at first, but then she puts Gus through the wringer. While he wants to go to their current priest posthaste and make the marriage legal, she wants to do everything right. Gus has to propose and then they’re going to have a wedding with all the trimmings. Cake, limo, the white dress, the whole gyro. She won’t take no for an answer, either.

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Yep. Another wedding, and it’s going to be a whopper of a time. John Stamos and Rita Wilson are guests, too. And the guys in the wedding party wear shiny tuxes with the word “Funkateers” on the back.

Like the first go-round, there’s not much doubt where this movie ends up, but the big question is whether or not Toula will learn to share the family burdens instead of trying to do everything herself.

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Wedding 2 didn’t make as big a splash as its predecessor. It currently has a twenty-seven percent critic’s score and a fifty-three percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and was given such descriptors as “unremarkable,” “unfunny,” and “pointless.” Nigel Andrews from the Financial Times even said that watching paint dry was a suitable follow-up to seeing the film.

I disagree; I like the movie. Yeah, it recycles quite a bit of schtick, and no, it doesn’t have the punch that it should have, but there are a lot of sweet moments and a beautiful overall story arc. The movie handles mature love really well and respects the generations, such as when we see the men in the family rush over one night when Gus gets stuck in the bathtub. These characters have their aches and pains, but there’s no complaining or acting as if their best days are behind them. Ageing is treated as a part of life and certainly no barrier to a full, busy existence.

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The character development between the movies is handled very naturally–Toula marrying Ian clearly got this family to think beyond what they’d always done. Nick (Louis Mandylor), who wanted to be an artist, now has an art studio. Athena (Stavroula Logothettis), Toula and Nick’s sister, has fought against being an empty nester by having more kids. Ian’s friend, Mike (Ian Gomez) is a cop and married to one of Toula’s cousins. Dancing Zorba’s now sells bundt cakes. Ian and his parents have been absorbed into the Portokalos family and join them for everything. Ian’s now fluent in Greek, so no one can trip him up with embarrassing phrases.

Speaking of Ian, he and Toula get their groove back in a big way. When Ian and Toula watch Toula’s parents get married, they remember what it was like to get married themselves, acting out the ceremonial walk around a holy water font in the back of the church. It’s nice to watch these two people rekindle the spark they had for each other and remember why they got together in the first place. Every healthy relationship needs some TLC, right?

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It’s also nice to see Toula reconcile herself to her daughter growing up. Paris is in the same fix as her mom in that she’s got her giant Greek family around her all the time and she just wants to do her own thing. In a way she ends up doing her mom one better, because while Toula married the non-Greek, she was still in relatively known territory. I won’t say too much because I don’t want to ruin anything.

No, I don’t think My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is a terrible movie. It’s cute, it has a good heart, and it’s nice to see these characters again.

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For more of the Even Or Odd Blogathon, please see my blog here and Gill’s blog here. Thanks for reading, all, and I hope to see you tomorrow for Day Three’s posts from our lovely bloggers…


My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is available on DVD and Blu-ray from Amazon.

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