PG-13 / 94 minutes / Comedy, romance
Fourteen years have passed since the Portokalos family surprised us with a funny little story about their crazy big family. Gus and Maria’s only daughter had yet to find a good Greek man and thanks to Ian (John Corbett) we all know how it ends. The first one, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, was a $5-million romcom that no one knew would become such a hit including writer Nia Vardalos and producers Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson.
With the exact same cast, a slightly bigger budget ($18-million) and completely different director (Kirk Jones) comes My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. It’s amazing that all of the actors are still willing and capable to try this again. Can the magic happen a second time around?
With a brand new story line that stays true to the title, there they all are solving a major family problem together once again but this time there’s a new member of the family, Toula and Ian’s only daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris is half Greek in real life.)
Fans are nostalgic about this Greek family, about Gus’s Windex and love for his heritage, about Aunt Voula’s awkwardly, confidant remarks, Maria’s strong personality loand grandma’s ability to mysteriously appear without saying a word. It’s hard not to smile at their intense connection, and lack of boundries, but it was harder to laugh this time.
While the main plot is not predictable, most of the gags are. When the camera takes a tight shot of the frozen car door lock, we know what’s coming next – a squirt of glass cleaner. We know Gus will claim every word in the English language comes from the Greeks. We know the Portokalos brothers witll cut-up like they’re still in high school. We know when Toula breaks her glasses at work she’ll find her old pair in the drawer. And all of the predictable moments would be okay if it didn’t feel like the film was just trying too hard to be likable.
Many of the jokes were over stated. Many of the scenes were over directed. Did Director Kirk Jones try too hard or did the cast just want the old chemistry to return? Maybe both.The one fresh joke was ruined by a plug before the film to use #pullmyneck complete with a demonstration on how to take a photo with your girlfriends by pulling each other’s neck to look thinner.
These actors genuinely like each other and came running when Nia Vardalos finally had script number two. Like all of us, they fell in love with that first one. It made all of us feel less awkward about our own crazy families. It showed everyone that all families have a little ‘crazy’ in the them. But sometimes we just can’t re-create something so organic, so accidentally brilliant, so magical. And that’s okay!
I know anyone who saw the first one will want to see this film, and if reminiscing is worth full-price prime-time admission and popcorn, then get right to it. If you decide to hit the matinee or wait for the DVD instead, that’s completely fine, too. Either way, you’ll find a cast of actors grateful to reconnect after 15 years. Another family reunion. Ops!
ARRUGA! – 0
Fidget Factor – 0
Age Range – 12 and up
Overall Grade – C