By Cynthia Ayala
For Toula and her husband Ian, balancing her own marriage and her family haven’t gotten easier. And with some of the spark leaving their relationship, these two are not only dealing with a rebellious teenager who can’t wait to get away from her suffocating family, but now they must deal with the fact that Toula’s parents were never marriage. What’s another wedding mean for Toula? Only more laughs and love.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is the long awaited sequel of the 2002 film My Big Fat Greek Wedding that generated rave reviews and numerous awards. Nevertheless, the sequel, well it hasn’t been received well.
You’re not going to see any of that negativity here because I loved the movie. It made me laugh and it made me remember everything that made the first film good. One of the common comments I’ve seen about this film sum up to this “laughs that depend on the broad stereotypes and predictable plot points.” That’s unfair. Are stereotypes cool? No, not really, but they do exist. Any large cultured family is going to be like that, it’s nothing bad, large families just tend to be loud because they all want to be heard at the same time. They tend to be close, that’s how they were raised. Of course, there are the ones that really try to escape it, like Toula and her daughter, but they love their family, they can’t abandon them, no matter how much they drive them crazy.
And that’s part of what made this film so good: its believability. You don’t need to have a big family to believe this, but anyone can appreciate the closeness of the family, and that it highlighted in this film, especially when it juxtaposes Ian’s (John Corbett) relationship with his parents to Toula’s (Nia Vardalos) relationship with hers. And Nia Vardalos doesn’t down play it. It’s clear that it is ridiculous, even to her, that it drives her crazy and makes her pity her own daughter, but it’s family, it’s what she knows, it’s where her heart lies. Moreover, there is the strain it puts on the relationship with her husband. Nothing about this film is easy, the relationships need to be worked at, they need devotion from each other, attention from one another, and that right there is the heart of the film.
The film is not just about some crazy family and their crazy antics; it is also about their love and devotion. Toula’s parents discover that their wedding certificate was never signed meaning they were never married. However, they have lost their spark, and for them too, it’s about finding that spark, finding the appreciation from one another again to show why they should be married. The same goes for Toula and Ian’s relationship. It’s a film just about finding their way to one another.
That was the beauty of the movie and why the laughs were warranted: because they were based on something familiar, something the viewer can relate to. Young Adults tend to feel like their families are suffocating, parents worry about their children, no matter how old they are, it’s natural for people to pull away while someone tries to push closer. It’s a give and take, and that is what this film captured.
Sure, this film did recycle some of the jokes from the first film, but it didn’t use them to the point of over kill. Nia brought back the jokes briefly, fitting them in with the new jokes, wrapping them into the script wonderfully for translation.
There was love in this film, there was heart and this wasn’t a sequel for sequel’s sake, it was a movie the writer and cast wanted to make together, it was a point in their lives they wanted to revisit and the audience can feel that making this a good film to watch. The story is there, the connections are there, you don’t have to look hard for it to appreciate everything it has to offer. (★★★★ | A)
Directed by Kirk Jones
Written by Nia Vardalos
Starring: Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Lainie Kazan, Michael Constantine, Andrea Martin, Ian Gomez & Elena Kampouris
Genre | Length | Rating: Comedy, Romance | 1 hr. 34 min. | PG-13
Distributed by Universal Pictures