Who thought we needed a sequel to 2002’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Sure, it became the highest-grossing movie to never reach number one at the box office and even managed to nab a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, but did Universal actually think that it stood a chance against the comic book fans who are rushing to the theater this weekend? Even if you enjoyed the first movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is sure to test your patience.
It has been fourteen years since we last left Toula (Nia Vardalos) and Ian (John Corbett), but somehow they now have a seventeen-year-old daughter, Paris (Elena Kampouris). Just as they are preparing for Paris to move away for college, Toula’s parents (Lainie Kazan and Michael Constantine) discover that their marriage was never legitimized. So, the family must return to their loud and crass ways to throw an extravagant wedding.
The script for My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 feels like an overlong draft for an episode of a lower tier sitcom. Of the several conflicts that are established, few are actually developed over the course of the movie and even less are presented with any kind of urgency. The audience is never given much of a reason to care about the lives of these characters, mainly because the film constantly abandons subplots and forces even less interesting ones in their place. None of this would matter, of course, if the jokes landed, but they rarely do. Most of the humor is simply nods to the first movie.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is at its best when it give Toula and Ian space to breathe, but they rarely get any screen time. The spotlight is placed on Paris (who rarely gives us a reason to root for her) and Toula’s parents (who worked as supporting characters, but they don’t really know what to do when they are the center of attention). The movie toys with the notion of the strain of time on Ian and Toula’s marriage, especially as their daughter becomes an adult, but it never really goes anywhere with the idea. A deeper examination of their marriage after a decade and a half would have made a much more compelling sequel.
Writer/star Nia Vardalos struck gold once, as she drew from experiences with her own family, but it would appear that she tapped out the well the first time around. Though your mother is sure to have a good time, you will walk out of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 wondering if the original was actually as charming and clever as you remember it to be.
Drink Every Time: the grandmother is used as a comedic prop.