It’s hard to believe that My Big Fat Greek Wedding was first released in 2002 because I’m still laughing at it. It’s harder to believe that it took nearly a decade and a half for the sequel to arise. It was one of the world’s biggest independent movies and it was also as Canadian as maple pie. Just think: since the original came out, we’ve had about 40 major big budget blockbuster comic book superhero snoozefests and their sequels come and go. Did any of them improve our lives? Doubtful, but they did sell a lot of T-shirts and toys.
Thank Zeus that Toula Portokalos is back, courtesy of the savvy comedic genius of Nia Vardalos. The Winnipeg-born writer-actress finally realized that real entertainment was needed and without special effects either. So Toula and her husband Ian (John Corbett) are now back on screen, this time with their daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris) and oh … the rest of their big fat Greek Portokalos family with mom Maria (Lainie Kazan) and dad Gus (Michael Constantine) at the head. There are siblings, of course, and their kids too, and because the family is so close, they all seem to live within Windex distance of each other. Because they do.
As Gus is getting older, Nia has taken on the responsibilities of being their caregiver, which means everything from chauffeur to referee. It’s more than a full-time job and it’s one that she gets to do while being supermom to a teenaged daughter who is on the verge of graduating from high school. That means that Toula is putting pressure on Paris (Elena Kampouris) to stay close to home herself so that the whole Greek epic could make a nice cycle.
Things get even more complicated when Gus discovers that their marriage certificate was never authenticated, meaning that they never really married. After 50 years, Maria realizes that she wants just a bit more out of her life, and this leads to the couple facing a marital precipice where they either continue to climb together or jump off entirely.
It’s not high-brow material but the beauty of it is that it’s all pertains to matters of the heart, all of which are more real and interesting than alien dudes in capes or billionaire renegades trying to save the planet from maniacal geniuses or interplanetary destroyers. I’d much rather watch one movie such as this about two people trying to make their relationships work than any special effects-laden monstrosity.
MBFGW2 might be contrived and simplistic but no more so than X-Men, or Avengers, or Batman and Superman or any of their Justice League cohorts. I don’t care about superpowers. I only care about real powers including the ability to talk out one’s feelings, the ability to steel one’s self against the challenges of ego battles while managing multiple conflicting interpersonal schedules, and the ability to see through the invisible troubles of personality conflicts and mental blocks. Vardalos and all of her Greek co-stars are superheroes here. They’re practically demi-gods and goddesses.
This movie made me laugh. It made me cry. It did more in 90 minutes and with fewer contrivances than either Batman or Superman did in twice the time, and probably 500 times the budget. Go see My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 instead of any superhero movie. It’s good for you and your relationship, and will probably improve the economy too.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
Starring Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Elena Kampouris, Lainie Kazan, Michael Constantine, Andrea Martin, Gerry Mendicino, Alex Wolff, John Stamos, Rita Wilson, Joey Fatone, Gia Carides, Louis Mandylor, Joey Fatone, Stavroula Logothettis, Chrissy Paraskevopoulos, Maria Vacratsis, Bess Meisler, Mark Margolis and Jayne Eastwood
Written by Nia Vardalos
Directed by Kirk Jones
Rated: PG for mild language
Runtime: 94 minutes
Now playing at Cineplex Odeon North Edmonton and Scotiabank Theatres