Director: Kirk Jones
There’s one point late in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 that stands out — nay, is almost stunning — for actually being underplayed. Ian (John Corbett), in the middle of a utilitarian exchange of pleasantries with his ultra-reserved WASP father (Bruce Gray), tentatively reaches for a deeper connection, offering to be available to “just talk or whatever” if he ever wants to. It’s left unsaid but obvious that spending so much time around the extraordinarily close family of his wife, Toula (Nia Vardalos), has made Ian long, at least a little bit, for that kind of casual intimacy with his own relatives. It’s a nice little exchange that speaks better for this film’s affectionate vision of Greek family life than most of its boisterous comedy scenes.
The weird thing is that, though written by the Greek-descended Vardalos, most of the aspects of Greek identity on display in the movie are so broad that it feels like anyone could have put this script together, and mostly based on the stereotypes the first film introduced to pop culture. It’s like a Mad Libs with half the blanks filled with “OPA!” This, along with retreads of running jokes from the original, constitute most of the movie’s humor.
The plot is kicked off when Toula’s father, Gus (Michael Constantine), attempts to prove that Alexander the Great is his ancestor, which might be the apex of lazy Greek references. The observations on long-term marriage try even less — in fact, there are none. Toula and Ian say, “We need to work on our marriage” a few times, with zero scenes of them experiencing any such difficulties.
The whole movie is a spanakopita-scented ramshackle construction job. In the midst of his family-tree research, Gus discovers that he and Toula’s mother, Maria (Lainie Kazan), were never legally married, kicking off the eponymous wedding. Strung along this spine are about a dozen subplots, some of which are barely extant. There are literally only two scenes devoted to Toula’s cousin, Angelo (Joey Fatone), struggling to come out to his parents, and the first one is roughly three-quarters of the way in. Early moments that look like they’re supposed to be running jokes, such as young kids parroting Gus’ insistence that all culture comes from the Greeks, never lead to anything. John Stamos randomly pops up thrice or so. This movie is just over 90 minutes long, has maybe a half-hour’s worth of concrete plot, and still feels overstuffed.
The first movie used its wedding as a way to naturally let the central characters bounce off the various colorful personalities in Toula’s family while keeping itself grounded in her story. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 commits the perennial sequel mistake of indulging the breakout characters, letting them run rampant over everything in the process. Giving everyone the spotlight only diffuses the heart.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 opens nationwide on Friday, March 25.
Since any New York City cinephile has a nearly suffocating wealth of theatrical options, we figured it’d be best to compile some of the more worthwhile repertory showings into one handy list. Displayed below are a few of the city’s most reliable theaters and links to screenings of their weekend offerings — films you’re not […]
Welcome, one and all, to the newest episode of The Film Stage Show! This week, I am joined by Michael Snydel and Bill Graham. First, we discuss the death of director Jonathan Demme. Then, we talk about the anime film Your Name. by Makoto Shinkai. Subscribe on iTunes or see below to stream download (right-click and save as…). […]
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