Movie Review: Joyless 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2' a Total Dud
Is that the best title they could come up with? Some alternatives: My Big Fat Greek Marriage, My Bigger Fatter Greeker Wedding, My Big Fat Greek Divorce, My Big Fat Greek Sequel, etc.
I hated the first My Big Fat Greek Wedding when I saw it back in 2002, so much so that I caught it a second time after it made half a billion dollars to confirm my original diagnosis. Yes, this sitcom-level collection of outdated ethnic stereotypes and tired plot devices was simply not for me.
But the movie was a massive hit, earning $250 million on a $5 million budget in the US and even scoring a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination for writer-star Nia Vardalos, to my utter disbelief.
Part 2 is more slickly produced and less offensive, with the ethnic stereotyping that was just fine 15 years ago dialled way-way down. And even writer-star Vardalos, 14 years later, is slimmer and sleeker and generally more appealing than last time around.
And I hated it just the same.
Vardalos, after a decade-plus of flops including Connie and Carla, My Life in Ruins, and I Hate Valentine’s Day, is no longer a lead: here’s she’s the doting mother of teenage daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris), who’s about to graduate from high school and – shock, horror – go off to college away from home. Maybe.
Vardalos’ Toula, along with hubby Ian (John Corbett), who she married and brought into her big fat Greek family in the last movie, get to a) express mild concern about their daughter flying the coop and b) attempt to rekindle some romance in their stale marriage. And that’s it for the last film’s leads.
Meanwhile, to soak up the bulk of the screen time here, Toula’s father Gus (Michael Constantine) discovers that long ago the priest failed to sign the right documents and – ho, ho – he is not officially married to wife Marie (Lainie Kazan).
And so mom demands another big fat Greek wedding and we get this big fat Greek movie. Yes, this rejected 80s sitcom device is actually the featured storyline of a movie that will make hundreds of millions.
As the jokes in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 are fed to the audience, I shuffle uncomfortably in my seat. Someone in the audience coughs. I check my watch. It’s only been 30 minutes?
There are some great YouTube videos of well-known sitcoms with the laugh track edited out, turning them into uncomfortable portraits of social anxiety. I felt the same way during this movie, with a 90-minute running time and darkened cinema setting only adding to the experience.
There’s an incredibly off-putting, too-real sequence halfway through the film in which the father has fallen in the bathtub and cannot get up. The poor man is injured, naked, and helpless. An ambulance is called.
Outside, EMTs comfort… his sons, who have had to (gasp!) look at their naked father while feigning an offer of assistance, and are now visibly shaken. The horror.
As a whole, I found My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 a depressing experience masquerading as a mainstream comedy. But hey, if you liked the first film, this one is no worse.
This review originally appeared on Expats.cz