I will start this review by saying that I adored “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” It was genuinely funny and heartfelt and dealt with issues many of us from immigrant families deal with. Fourteen years later and the same can’t be said for “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,” which is still playing off of its predecessor’s success, but isn’t at all in the same realm of quality.
A lot has changed since we last saw the Portokalos family: Toula (Nia Vardalos) and Ian (John Corbett) have a 17-year-old daughter, Paris (Elena Kampouris); Toula’s brother, Nick (Louis Mandylor), is married with young children; and the dry cleaning store and the travel agency are now closed. One thing that hasn’t changed is the penchant for being nosy and showing up in large groups.
Toula can’t let go of her daughter, not wanting her to move away for college; Gus (Michael Constantine) is still using Windex and is so Greek that he’s convinced of his relation to Alexander the Great; and Aunt Voula (the hilarious Andrea Martin) takes control of the situation when it’s discovered that Gus and Maria (Lainie Kazan) have never been legally married. So, of course, there’s another Portokalos wedding in the works that brings the family
back together even closer.
“My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” ultimately suffers from what should be termed “taking too long to make a sequel” syndrome. Like “Zoolander 2” earlier this year, Nia Vardalos’ comedy about family is almost two decades too late and completely unnecessary at this point. The original was good because it not only served as a family-oriented film, but also dealt with a big issue faced within second generation American families. And it did so with comedy and zeal. “Greek Wedding 2” deals with no issues such as this and rehashes a lot of the same jokes and quirky bits that made the first one so memorable.
The film can be compared to a strange family reunion where, sure, you may be happy to see everyone again, but the reunion’s not so memorable or fun. Vardalos serves up a script that has far too many plot lines, as though trying to fit in everything and anything she can to try and see if any of them might prove compelling. There is no definitive link between any of the plots and some of them, like Gus’ brother all of a sudden showing up or John Stamos making an appearance that doesn’t serve the plot in any way, feel pointless and empty.
“My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” is nostalgia and nostalgia only. Most of the jokes don’t stick, the story lines are practically nonexistent, but messy when they attempt to be realized. John Corbett is there, but certainly underutilized, while Vardalos’ character comes off a bit annoying at certain times, and there are bits of cliched speeches and moments that don’t ever ring true. There are a couple of genuine chuckles here and there, but what the film ultimately lacks are the endearing qualities and surprisingly funny and heartwarming moments that made the first one such a hit. And while it doesn’t ruin the first film upon re-watch, the sequel’s existence is unnecessary.
There are a couple of genuine chuckles here and there, but what the film ultimately lacks are the endearing qualities and surprisingly funny and heartwarming moments that made the first one such a hit.