My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2: Same Shtick; Same Effect!

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

It’s been fourteen years since Nia Vardalos’ My Big Fat Greek Wedding came out of nowhere to do $254 million dollars because of its exploration of how large Greek families react when one of them falls in love with a non-Greek.

The sequel is equally as filled with that unique mix of culture and shtick, but it’s still enough to wring more than a few laughs (and tears) from today’s jaded audiences (there was even applause at the screening I attended).

It’s slightly more than seventeen years later – Toula (Vardalos) and Ian (John Corbett) have a seventeen-year old daughter, Paris (Elena Kampouris, American Odyssey) – a slightly gothy girl who is about to graduate from high school and is continually exasperated by her family (at one point, Toula’s father, Gus, mutters ‘cough-payback-cough!’).

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

Toula’s parents, Gus (Michael Constantine) and Maria (Lainie Kazan), live next door, and her brothers live in the next two houses – creating a Greek bloc on the block. It’s good for a couple of laughs.

Toula makes helicopter moms look like slackers and the rest of the family doesn’t help – Gus is constantly telling Paris she’s getting old and needs to find a Greek husband; the family (some dozen-plus strong) turn up when she has a basketball game, or attends a college recruitment day (Paris wants to go anywhere that’s as far away as possible from her family), or just wants to go for a walk; she’s expected to work in the family restaurant, etc.

Once we get the picture where Paris is concerned, we come to the big plot point: Gus discovers that the priest who officiated at his and Maria’s wedding never signed the marriage certificate. They aren’t actually married. He’s dismayed. Maria? Not so much.


Maria insists he propose again; he refuses. A bad hip provides some amusement here.

Because this is a film about Toula’s Greek family, we know that he’ll get around to it and that there will be a big, fat, Greek wedding. The fun is discovering how/what circumstances lead up to it – and, of course, the wedding itself.

A secondary arc has Paris going to the prom – which is on the same day as the wedding – with a boy named Bennett (Alex Wolff), whom she asks as a kindness (she sees him get shot down by the girl he asks).

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 may be an extended sitcom, but it’s intensely extended. While Corbett’s Ian remains the calm in the eye of the storm, the rest of the cast – Andrea Martin (Aunt Voula), Costas (Michael Sofas), Nick (Louis Mandylor) and Nikki (Gia Carides) among them – have a field day with all the bickering, nosiness and generally amped up family business.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

Mark Margolis (Breaking Bad) steals some scenes as Gus’ estranged brother, Panos, and Bess Meisler (Mana-Yiayia/ great-grandmother) steals every scene she’s in by playing dryly against all the commotion.

Vardalos knows what her audience wants and Kirk Jones (Waking Ned Devine) knows exactly how far he can go in any one direction before things get out of hand or drop into the realm of boredom. The result is a film that deals with the pros and cons of being part of a large, close-knit family from the perspectives of four generations.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 will probably not get many rave reviews, but I enjoyed it considerably more than I expected and, as I mentioned earlier, the crowd applauded at the end. The final proof, from my point of view: I had about a third of my drink left as the closing credits rolled.

Final Grade: B+

Photos courtesy of Universal Pictures and Gold Circle Entertainment