Movie review: ‘Big Fat Greek Wedding 2’ is a big fat letdown

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    Universal Pictures/APNia Vardalos, left, and John Corbett in a scene from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2"

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    Universal Pictures/APNia Vardalos, left, and John Corbett in a scene from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2"

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    Universal Pictures/APNia Vardalos, left, and John Corbett in a scene from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2"

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    Universal Pictures/APNia Vardalos, left, and John Corbett in a scene from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2"

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    Universal Pictures/APNia Vardalos, left, and John Corbett in a scene from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2"

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    Universal Pictures/APNia Vardalos, left, and John Corbett in a scene from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2"

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    Universal Pictures/APNia Vardalos, left, and John Corbett in a scene from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2"

Associated Press
Published: 3/30/2016 3:22:14 PM

Ever been to a wedding where you don’t know anyone very well? It’s pretty deadly, no matter how good the food or the band might be. Everyone’s laughing really hard at jokes you don’t find funny, or even understand.

On the other hand, if you know and love everyone, you’ll have fun even if the champagne is flat and the canapes soggy.

And that, dear moviegoer, is about as deep as we need to go in analyzing “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,” an overstuffed, under-achieving sequel that took more than a decade to come to the screen. If you’ve been dying for a reunion with those aggressively lovable folks known as the Portokalos family, maybe you’ll be happy. But if you didn’t miss them that much or, maybe didn’t even know them in the first place, stay away from this wedding. Send a gift and call it a day.

The original, also starring Nia Vardalos, was a ginormous hit — but this script is a tired pastiche of what seem like the same gags we heard the first time. Greek families are big and affectionate! Greek families get involved in each other’s business! Greek families smother you with love! And so on.

We begin in snowy Chicago, where Toula (Vardalos) is still married to her Waspy hunk Ian (John Corbett, now the high school principal. Her father, Gus (Michael Constantine), is still the patriarch, a man who swears he’s related to Alexander the Great and believes that every word in the English language comes from Greek, even “Facebook.” The rest of the gang is back, too, including Lainie Kazan as Toula’s mom, Maria, and the terrific Andrea Martin as Aunt Voula, who still likes to talk raunchy.

Fourteen years have passed; Toula and Ian are parents of a high school senior, Paris (Elena Kampouris), who’s aching to spread her wings. Paris rolls her mascara-heavy eyes when her grandfather, on the way to school, instructs her to quickly find a Greek boy and marry him.

Such grandfatherly advice is par for the course, but poor Paris really suffers when this theme is stretched to ridiculous proportions as the entire clan — cousins, aunts, uncles — shows up at the school’s college fair, where they virtually accost the representative from Northwestern and threaten him with punishment should Paris not be admitted. Oh, families. So silly.

This is a recurring problem with the film, directed by Kirk Jones; what seemed quirky and funny in the original is exaggerated to un-funny extent here.

OK, given the title, there’s got to be a wedding, right? So, we have a plot device whereby Gus discovers that his marriage license from Greece was never signed.

Time for a wedding! Of course, there are a few obstacles along the way. But we all know that we’ll get our happy wedding, some way, somehow. And you’ll surely smile at a few points — who’s not a sucker for a big wedding, right?

It’s only when those credits roll that you’ll likely find yourself thinking: 14 years, for this?

Rated PG-13.




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