MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2
By Gary Murray
Starring Nia Vardalos, John Corbett and Andrea Martin
Written by Nia Vardalos
Directed by Kirk Jones
Running time 95 min
MPAA Rating PG-13
Selig Film Rating Matinee
Basically, sequels run into two broad categories. First, there are those that surpass the original. They are films like Bride pf Frankenstein, The Godfather II and Terminator 2. Each one added on to the original without being repetitive. But, most fall into the broader category of not as good. They are films like all the Die Hard sequels, The Matrix debacle and the horrendous Terminator re-imagining. They take what the public loves and turns it into something less while trying to make it something more. Which brings up the question—where does My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 stand?
The story takes place about 12 years past the first Greek wedding. Toula (Nia Vardalos) is back working at the family restaurant. It seems that the career of a travel agent has been killed by the twin fangs of a weak economy. She is still married to Ian (John Corbett) who is a principal in their town of Chicago. Paris (Elena Kampouris) is their teenage daughter who like most 17 year-olds is embarrassed by the family and struggling to find herself. She hides behind some dark eye shadow.
They live next door to all their relatives. Gus (Michael Constantine) runs his family restaurant and believes in the magic power of Windex but he is moving much slower than before. Part of his day is spent in a rehab facility. His wife Maria (Lainie Kazan) is still a firecracker and the two bicker. The entire family is always around but the true head of the clan is Aunt Voula (Andrea Martin).
The plot takes off when Gus begins to research that he is a direct descendent of Alexander the Great. Gus finds out that he is not married to Maria. The priest didn’t sign the marriage license. Maria wants Gus to give her a proper proposal. He claims that he did and these two stubborn senior citizens are at a stalemate.
The other side of the story is between Ian and Toula. With her focus on her family and graduating high school daughter, there is not much time for her marriage. They begin to try and date again much like they did in the first film. The two love each other but it is still hard after a dozen years.
The film is of the wedding of Gus and Maria. The family finds out that they must bond together to get everything accomplished. It is of the old adage that blood is thicker than water.
When one watches the film, the question arises—could Nia Vardalos could be any more talented and any more beautiful? She delivers comic lines with cutting accuracy, milking each and every joke from her screenplay. Then there are moments of tenderness paced between these comedic peaks. Director Kirk Jones frames Nia with a loving touch as if she is only 12 minutes older and not 12 years. Everyone begins to wonder why Nia doesn’t work more.
As a screenwriter, Nia is a generous craftsperson. There is an up and down flow to the script where comic moments are juxtaposed with tender moments. She does get some good lines but at the same time she gives a great amount of the clever bits to her fellow thespians. It is the give and take between characters that drive the slight story.
The lion’s share of comedy comes from Andrea Martin and she feasts on every morsel. There are lines that would pull a smirk from a lesser actress but somehow she manages to get screams of laughs. She plays the audience just as every great comic does, with a willing heart and a great talent. Andrea is another person who should be in more motion pictures.
The men of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 almost feel as if they are an afterthought. This is a kind of film that is made by women and for women where men are secondary characters. It has been said that a wedding is a showcase for the bride and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 proves that old adage.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is not a bad film but it is not a very good film. It wears its charms very long on its sleeves almost to the point of being a bit too warm. There is a feeling that the makers are trying too hard. The film is like most weddings—all spectacle but forgotten about the next day.