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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 18.49%
Average: 25.21%
Pretty Bad: 8.4%
Total Crap: 11.76%

6 reviews, 83 user ratings

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My Big Fat Greek Wedding
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by Brian McKay

"Like my family gatherings – fun for an hour, but then I want the hell out!"
3 stars

Having been told by at least ten people how funny and endearing this chick-flick phenomenon is (nine of those people being chicks, of course), I decided to check it out for myself and see what the $241 million dollars domestic fuss was all about. Now I kind of understand . . . and I sort of don’t.

I do see the reasons why this became such a hit. After all, the rom-com crowd must be starving for something beyond the slew of godawful Maid in Manhattan for a View from the Top of a Boat Trip in Ten Days type films that have been shoved down our collective throats. In that respect, MBFGW delivers a more clever rom-com along the lines of Bridget Jones’ Diary or Next Stop, Wonderland. Written by star Nia Vardalos, it is an almost autobiographical look at her experiences of growing up with a loud, obnoxious, eccentric, but mostly likeable Greek family.

Vardalos plays Toula, a frumpy 30 year old spinster who still lives with her parents and wants something more out of life than what the rigid confines of her traditional Greek upbringing dictate – which is to “Marry a nice Greek boy, have lots of Greek babies, and feed everyone until we die” (wait a minute . . . Greeks? Is she sure she’s not talking about Mormons?). She decides to transform herself from frump-worthy to hump-worthy by ditching the glasses, doing her hair and makeup, putting on some more flattering clothes, and taking classes at the local community college. On the heels of this female empowerment, an affable and handsome high school English teacher named Ian (John Corbett) comes strolling into her life and sweeps her off of her feet. There’s just one problem – he may be a very nice boy, but he ain’t Greek!

Toula tries to keep her burgeoning romance with Ian on the down low, but eventually the family finds out and she gets busted anyway. They try to sway her away from Ian by setting her up with a string of ridiculous suitors, but of course she is not to be dissuaded. So when Ian proposes marriage, and she says yes, the family must learn to accept Ian, and vice-versa. After that, it’s pretty much a case of “Toula tries to get through the wedding with her sanity intact while dealing with her big, loud, obnoxious, meddling, but loveable family”. Love and tolerance eventually conquers all, everyone happy, the end. As if it could turn out any other way.

So yes, it’s pretty predictable and innocuous Rom-Com fare, but it definitely has its charms. Nia Vardalos is not a great actress, but she is a likeable one. She’s not some A-list super-hot babe with a rock-hard body – and that’s why the film works. Toula is not hot, but she is attractive. She’s a big girl, but the curves still go in and out in all the right places. She’s got a bit of a hook nose and a goofy, cross-eyed look, but she’s also got a terrific smile that lights up a room. Like one of my favorite actresses, Hope Davis, she does frumpy pretty good, but she cleans up even better and pulls off that “moth to butterfly” transformation in a way that some mega-hot chick merely sporting a pair of thick glasses and a bad haircut can’t. She’s half of what really makes the film work. The other half is John Corbett.

Now, let me say something about Corbett. This is a guy who has grown exactly zero percent as an actor in the past ten years. He’s playing the same easy-going, laid back, likeable everyman with a philosophic bent that he’s been playing in nearly every goddamn role that he’s been in since his stint as the existentialist disc jockey Chris on Northern Exposure. He’s a one-trick pony – but I love the trick every time he pulls it! Whenever you need an instantly likeable and mellowly charismatic character, John Corbett will never steer you wrong. (Hell, I like him so much, I’ll even give him a quick, free plug – be sure and try out his new show Lucky on the FX network in April of ’03). As Ian, he brings a genuine chemistry with Vardalos into the mix. Although you know he’s often thinking “What in the name of God have I gotten myself into” when in the presence of Toula’s family, he never once doubts that he really loves her, and neither does the viewer. He even goes so far as to be baptized into the Greek Orthodox church for her (in the single most hilarious scene of the film). Now, if that ain’t love, I don’t know what is.

As for the rest of the cast, they all do well enough with what they have to work with – which is mostly a bunch of oddball characters that seem highly stereotypical to me, but which anyone with Greek friends or relatives will tell you is dead-on. Whether the stereotypes are accurate or not, they become no less tiresome or grating after the 60 minute mark. Yes, these oddball people are funny and likeable, but in small servings. While most of them are walking caricatures, there are a few standout performances. Louis Mandylor plays Toula’s lothario kid brother, Nicky, and adds some nice touches as the loving and protective brother who shows Ian his acceptance by playing a series of amusing practical jokes on him. Also, Andrea Martin has some hysterical moments as the loud and opinionated Aunt Voula.

It’s a cute premise, but one that has really been done before and is stretched thin in order to fill its standard 90 minute rom-com running time. But for at least half of those ninety minutes, it will charm and amuse you. Naturally, it’s being churned out into a fall 2003 sitcom as I write this review, although I doubt it will make it past the first season with the absence of Corbett and the already exhausted source material. File this one under “Watch it, like it, fuhgeddaboutit”. Unlike my own family, at least I won’t feel obligated to revisit Toula’s on the holidays.

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originally posted: 03/24/03 09:08:40
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User Comments

6/22/15 David Hollingsworth Smart and refreshing better than average romantic comedy 5 stars
4/14/12 Dr.Lao Those wacky foreigners, ain't they a hoot? Oh Hollywood, you do love your hypocirsy! 2 stars
1/02/11 Joe S More of a fat chick flick, fat ugly chick gets the guy. No reason a dude to see it 2 stars
2/26/10 Reality Of FIlms This movie is very funny. I feel sorry for you, dbx. 5 stars
12/28/09 Jeff Wilder Amusing moments. But is nowhere near the comedy masterpiece many say it is. 3 stars
8/13/08 Brenda One of my favorite movies. I like the pace, love the characters and the story charming. 5 stars
8/03/08 markgse A comemdy I could watch several times. Bravo!! 5 stars
7/28/08 George Barksdale I found this to be a very refresshing comedy 5 stars
2/18/08 Pamela White serious romantic film, great chick flick 4 stars
4/11/07 David Cohen Cute, not great, but cute 3 stars
10/31/06 Bitchflaps Mediocre rom-com, nothing new here. 2 stars
4/26/06 Becky I'm Italian, and my boyfriend is Greek... so I loved this movie on so many levels!! 5 stars
2/05/06 Brian One of the best romantic comedies made 5 stars
11/14/05 read this everyone says this is so funny, well, it is. but only the first time. second time... yawn. 3 stars
11/14/05 hi Director: Joel Zwick 3 stars
3/29/05 dbx the MOST ANNOYING film of all time. if you liked it I feel sorry for you. 1 stars
1/31/05 Katherine Frazier I could so relate this family to my Italian family 4 stars
8/19/04 Peter B. Funny! 4 stars
7/25/04 DM A few funny bits but too sitcom-y for its own good 2 stars
3/27/04 Nicole I love this movie hah its soo funny and a nice family film..5 stars bitch! 5 stars
2/21/04 Denise Duspiva Same old plot boy neets girl 2 stars
2/01/04 britney very funny its awesome it deserves a 5 5 stars
1/13/04 MelissaNYC It isn't a masterpiece; just pretty good. Corbett is the essence of HOTNESS! 4 stars
10/14/03 I Would I must be missing something here but THIS WAS WHAT ALL THE HYPE WAS ABOUT?????????????????? 2 stars
9/27/03 Honolulu Tur Big fat pain in my arse..what overrated garbage this is!! OPA THIS 1 stars
9/19/03 Jin what boring cliched crap. Muriels Wedding wannabe 1 stars
9/12/03 Goofy Maxwell Sometimes finds the funny bone, but scrapes the marrow for it's 90 min. running time. 3 stars
8/20/03 miranda rRvals forest gump as the most PHONEY,MANIPULATIVE, "heartwarming" movies of all time. 1 stars
8/18/03 Monster W. Kung Idiotic, an 'indie' movie that stinks like the worst Hollywood. No sequel PLEASE. 2 stars
7/27/03 Goofy1 A little slow at first, but then I loved it. 4 stars
6/20/03 Kyle That was IT? WHAT THE FUCK? 1 stars
6/09/03 Francis pleasant, but not particularly funny, and not much happens 3 stars
5/23/03 Charles Tatum Average, shallow comedy highlighted by Andrea Martin's "lump" story 3 stars
5/17/03 Turtle One of the best romantic comedies of all time. Just plain hilarious! 5 stars
4/24/03 Leah what a piece of shit. Greek humour aint fucking funny. 1 stars
4/24/03 GWB garbage and boring 1 stars
4/08/03 Mystique Not bad 4 stars
4/06/03 Zaharin Hamid aka The Movie Samseng "Fools Rush In" meets "Bend It Like Beckham", but this one sucks! Fucking boring. 1 stars
4/03/03 Chris I loved it but certianly not the best romance ever, "Return To Me" 5 stars
3/25/03 Jon "Thumb the Toad" Lyrik It's very funny, but not THAT good. 4 stars
2/27/03 atanu its piteous people accept this for humor. you want funny, go watch action league now! 1 stars
2/25/03 Ken Not brilliant, but very funny. I liked it. 4 stars
2/24/03 Nancy N. Not surprised it became a sitcom, because it already feels like a sitcom 2 stars
2/20/03 Natalie Stonecipher I'd call it awesome if Windex had cured my zit. 4 stars
2/19/03 Schecky McDougal This film proves independent films can follow the same tired formulas as big studios 3 stars
2/16/03 R.W. Welch Agreeable ethnic rom\com, sort of a relief from the usual Hollywood stuff. 4 stars
2/16/03 Silverline Its ok and funny, but its not the most amazing movie ever 3 stars
2/14/03 Todd I hate this movie with every fiber of my being. Ebert and Roper can choke on my ball bag 1 stars
1/31/03 Peregrine Formulaic and facile, a cliché-ridden turkey that's as stale as three-week-old moussaka. 1 stars
1/20/03 Andrew Callaway Very good. But, the movie doesn't go any deeper than the diologue 4 stars
1/16/03 MovieFan One of the funniest, lightest movies of the year. A must see!! 5 stars
1/13/03 Benjamin Leatherman A fun and loose movie that didn't fall prey to the usual traps in a romantic comedy. 5 stars
1/10/03 Mitsaso Matt and Anonymous can suck each other's dick!!! 4 stars
1/04/03 jim Buckley A lot of fun 5 stars
12/28/02 Anonymous My Big Fat Greek Wedding can suck My Big Fat Italian Dick 1 stars
12/28/02 Matt "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"? More like: My Big Fat Gay Wedding. 2 stars
12/22/02 Nair de Farias The movie is wonderfull! Nia Vardalos is wonderfull to, i just love her!!! 5 stars
12/17/02 Brian Miller The movie had me laughing so hard my face hurt. 5 stars
12/15/02 viking Good wholesome fun 4 stars
12/09/02 PyThomas My only question: How in the hell did a guy from NSYNC get in this nice film & not ruin it? 4 stars
11/19/02 Bridget Haven't seen it so I don't know if its good or not! 1 stars
10/27/02 Matthew Smith has it moments of laughter, but we have seen it all before 3 stars
10/21/02 hum fun 4 stars
10/07/02 Incubassist I thought it was completely chamless, some very witty lines here and there though 2 stars
10/03/02 girl hilarious and endearing 5 stars
9/30/02 Sophia So fucking funny I pulled a muscle, fortunately I had Windex. 5 stars
9/24/02 poetchuck Funny, funny, could be any ethnic wedding I've attended 5 stars
9/24/02 Kathy Cox Wonderful! One of the best comedies I have seen in a long time. 5 stars
9/21/02 ajay very very funny 5 stars
9/21/02 Michaelb14 a simple unpretentious family comedy, damn good! 5 stars
9/19/02 Movie Kings woman Loved it! Actually made me laugh outside and that is hard to do. 5 stars
9/18/02 A Great film. Puts the bigger movies to shame 5 stars
9/12/02 Bueller A sweet little unpretentious movie that deserves no hype. A low budget greek "Moonstruck". 3 stars
9/06/02 grunter "Everybody Loves Raymond:The Movie" - nothing to see but CBS sitcom swill 1 stars
8/31/02 The Spam Handler Really good movie written by who probably knows it best 5 stars
8/17/02 Sean Horan Awesome movie! Touching, original, and damn funny! 5 stars
8/08/02 bj hilarious 5 stars
7/30/02 Martha Mero great movie, very enjoyble 5 stars
7/08/02 sandy best ever 5 stars
6/30/02 Nicole Windex.....haha. One of the funniest movies I have seen 5 stars
5/12/02 Teresa Predictable butnice story.Enjoyable.Alsosee MonsoonWedding.Fable:Families canbe overcome. 4 stars
5/10/02 Heather Very funny movie 5 stars
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  19-Apr-2002 (PG)
  DVD: 02-Jan-2007



Directed by
  Joel Zwick

Written by
  Nia Vardalos

  Nia Vardalos
  Gia Carides
  John Corbett
  Joey Fatone
  Ian Gomez
  Bruce Gray

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