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Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 6.67%
Average: 6.67%
Pretty Bad: 6.67%
Total Crap80%

2 reviews, 3 user ratings

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My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
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by Jaycie

"Finally. A worse Greek thing than the debt crisis."
1 stars

Fun fact: Nia Vardalos and I share a hometown, and when the first My Big Fat Greek Wedding movie was released, she was the toast of it. That this woman was nominated for a screenwriting Oscar that year and wrote this thing 14 years later would be the greatest shame of Winnipeg, Manitoba, if only we didn't have so many other things to be ashamed about.

Critics and everyday audiences generally agree that the first movie was "cute" and had "a certain charm" and was "relatable" to members of ethnicities known for large, loud and close-knit families. While there are occasional hints of cuteness and charm in the second one, it spends so much time falling back on its own jokes, and then exaggerating them to the point of absurdity, that the familiarity is nigh gone. Combine that with a haphazard screenplay and Lifetime-grade direction and you get one of those unfortunate sequels whose existence nobody can quite explain, except to note that Vardalos isn't getting a whole lot of work these days.

When we last left Toula (Vardalos), she had married the decidedly non-Greek Ian (John Corbett) and was implicitly promising their young daughter Paris that she would not be smothered by her relatives as Toula was. Unfortunately, because we saw them living right next door to Toula's parents Gus (Michael Constantine) and Maria (Lainie Kazan), we were left with a sense of foreboding that it wouldn't quite work out that way. We were right: The entire Portokalos clan still travels in a pack to the most mundane of events involving the now 17-year-old Paris (Elena Kampouris), understandably desperate to avoid being seen in public with these people. To top it off, Toula has become essentially a less amusing version of her own mother, even to the point of working in the family restaurant she was once so eager to escape.

We might have had a fascinating movie on our hands if her attempts to break free of her family in spirit as well as mailing address were the main story. Alas, we have to focus on Gus and Maria's discovery that they are not legally married and must throw a big fat Greek wedding of their own. That, and the dimming romance of Toula and Ian's marriage. That, and Paris's college search. That, and Paris's prom date. That, and Gus's spat with his brother Panos (Mark Margolis). That, and Angelo's (Joey Fatone) sexuality. That, and the introduction of a new couple (Rita Wilson and John Stamos, for extra pandering) at the family's church. Most of these subplots take anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes to resolve (and, in some cases, start and resolve), but when you pile them all together, they take about as long as any epic poem Gus might care to cite.

Most of the seemingly thousands-deep cast are good sports about the material they're given, most notably Andrea Martin, returning in the role of the helpful Aunt Voula. Kampouris shows some potential, but since she's mostly responsible for looking either embarrassed or nervous, it's hard to see much of it. As always, Corbett is as bland as Huey Lewis eating oatmeal at a Denny's in Billings, Montana. For the most part, we can blame this movie squarely on Vardalos, who shows symptoms of the "Winnipeg method": an unfortunate phenomenon among local actors in which an exaggerated vocal affectation and facial expression qualify as an emotion and/or personality. (For further examples, please go to YouTube and look up something called "WindCity" when you're in the mood to torture yourself.) And Vardalos trained at Second City! It must be something in the groundwater.

But her acting is the least of her problems. As a screenwriter, Vardalos is treading her own water, either duplicating her old gags exactly or simply assigning them to new people. The Windex is back. The etymology lessons are back. The "zany" behavior of Yiayia (Bess Meisler) is back. And when Vardalos isn't being meta, she's relying on stereotypes of Greeks, old people and middle-aged women. She does manage one moment I liked: When Paris gets indignant about her parents' desperation for her to attend a local college, she demands, "Why do parents always say dream big when they really mean not too big?" Great question, kid. It's limited horizons like those that lead people to, say, write the same movie twice.

It's neither particularly big nor fat, but Vardalos can shove this franchise up her Greek ass.

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originally posted: 03/26/16 12:21:36
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User Comments

12/21/16 Luisa Original was great, the sequel's humor is forced, over acting, tries too hard to be funny 3 stars
4/18/16 Christopher Macias Fabulously Written! Movie was good original was better 4 stars
3/25/16 rcurrier My wife liked it, I laughed at a couple jokes 2 stars
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