My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

File this one under: “why?”

Genre(s): Comedy

Director: Kirk Jones

Actors: Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Michael Constantine, Lainie Kazan, Andrea Martin, Gia Carides, Joey Fatone, Elena Kampouris, Alex Wolff, Louis Mandylor

Year: 2016

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Country: USA

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As in, why was this film necessary? Why was it made? It’s been more than a decade since My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and I’m not sure that, at this point, anyone was really still clamoring for a sequel… especially not one as dull and clunky as what screenwriter and star Nia Vardalos has churned out.

Don’t get me wrong, I very much enjoyed the first film, but its belated follow-up feels more like an exceedingly long episode of a bad sitcom rather than a worthy successor to the comparatively far more sweet and charming original.

This time around, Toula (Vardalos) and her big, boisterous Greek family are beset by a number of dilemmas: her surly teenaged daughter (Elena Kampouris) is desperate to escape to college out of town; her parents (Michael Constantine, Lainie Kazan) discover their marriage certificate is void; and Toula and Ian (John Corbett) find themselves in a spark-less relationship that both are eager to remedy.

Problem is, none of the above plots is particularly compelling, and there is so much onscreen “noise” – both literal and figurative – from the multitude of characters and their vast array of quirks that the proceedings kind of devolve into a loud, chaotic mess that, in the end, feels completely inconsequential and pointless. It’s as though the filmmakers tried to distill what worked well in the first film (a family so deeply rooted in its ethnic heritage that their antics became comical) and then build an entire second film around that alone… to a degree that the “outrageous relatives” actually become obnoxious. And, aside from Andrea Martin, who’s consistently wonderful no matter the material, the cast all seem to be phoning it in – Corbett, Kazan, I’m looking especially hard at you.

The heart, humor and originality that buoyed My Big Fat Greek Wedding are woefully absent here, and the screenplay feels like a retread thrown together from a bunch of TV tropes. There’s no anchor to the narrative (it took me a good half hour before I realized the central plot is, I think, meant to be Toula’s parents’ re-nuptials), the gags are stale, and the film as a whole is more a collection of forgettable vignettes than a strong, well-realized story.

Ultimately, the whole thing is a perfect – and unfortunate – example of “too little, too late.” 

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