Frances Winston feels the charm of the first movie is there, but there is nothing stand-out about My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.
Directed by: Kirk Jones – Starring: Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Lainie Kazan, Michael Constantine, Andrea Martin, Ian Gomez, Elena Kampouris, Joey Fatone, Rita Wilson, John Stamos
This sequel to the 2002 hit film clearly has a lot of moxy – why else would they pit themselves against the juggernaut that is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? Yes, for some bizarre reason best known to their distributors, they are releasing on the same day as the big-budget superhero blockbuster.
Vardalos reprises her role as Toula Portokalos, or Toula Portokalos-Miller, as she is now, having married the non-Greek Ian (Sex and the City hunk Corbett) at the end of the last movie. They’ve taken some liberties with the timeline, as the couple now have a 17-year-old daughter Paris (Kampouris).
Having been the focus of her mother’s attention all her life, she is now getting set to head to college, and Toula must try and readjust to life with an empty nest, having neglected her marriage for the past few years. In the midst of this, Toula’s parents discover that they were never actually properly married, and so the stage is set for the wedding of the title.
All the familiar characters from the original are back, and as madcap as ever. They may be older but they are no wiser – which is a bit of a problem. The characters may have got older, got married and had children, but they don’t seem to have moved on emotionally. Also, even though there are big life changes happening for several of the main players, the stakes never really seem high enough, and it all feels a bit underplayed.
Producer Rita Wilson and Fuller House star John Stamos play new characters that are completely redundant, as they set up one joke that you see coming a mile away, and then it doesn’t go anywhere. You could cut them out of the film – it wouldn’t make any difference – and their inclusion reeks of cronyism and really slows the film down.
The charm of the first movie is still here, and there are a lot of funny moments making for a very sweet almost saccharine film. It all just feels a bit ‘painted by numbers’. There is nothing standout about it, and while it will make you smile, you won’t leave the cinema deeply affected by what you’ve seen.
The original spawned a short-lived TV show, My Big Fat Greek Life, and this would perhaps have been better done as a spin-off from that, than a big screen offering. Even if this was completely amazing, I am pretty sure it would get swallowed up by Batman v Superman, and perhaps that is the intention, as they can apportion blame to that film if they don’t get the bums on seats.
Unfortunately, the reality is that while not dreadful, there is nothing special or standout about this, and it is more of a DVD than a big screen watch.
In Cinemas March 25th!