My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
When it was announced that there would be a sequel to the romantic comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding, I was skeptical. Not every sequel turns out to be as good as the original. Sequels often leave me thinking that the powers that be should have quit while they were ahead. But there have been some good ones out there (Star Wars, Harry Potter, the earlier Terminator films) and so, I decided to check out My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. Would it be just as good as the original?
Those of you who saw the original film will remember that it centered around Toula Portokalos (Nia Vardalos), a young woman struggling to create her own identity in the midst of her large, loud and sometimes overbearing Greek family. She creates her own travel agency, going against her parents wish that she remain working at their restaurant. But the biggest rebellion of all came when she married school teacher Ian Miller (John Corbett), a man with no Greek background. The original film proved that love conquers all and Toula's family came to accept Ian as one of their own, only wanting Toula to be happy in life.
Flash forward a little over a decade and a half and we see Toula and Ian's daughter is now a full grown teenager in her senior year of high school. Toula has always been the one member of the Portokalos family that they can count on. As such, Toula has always taken care of someone, making her well-prepared for motherhood. As a child, Paris (Elena Kampouris) was always close to her mother, but as she grows older, Toula finds that her child is pulling away.
Meanwhile, Toula's father Gus (Michael Constantine) becomes obsessed with proving that he is a direct descendant of Alexander the Great. While attempting to prove this through an online ancestry site, Gus learns that his marriage to Maria (Lainie Kazan) was never official - the marriage certificate was never signed by the priest. Now, years later, Gus and Maria learn that they were never officially married. Gus is prepared for Maria to be upset, but he never dreamed she would refuse to marry him officially without a proper proposal.
As Paris pulls further and further away and Maria and Gus argue over whether they should be married at all, Toula discovers that her own marriage is in need of some fixing. With Ian's new job as high school principal and her own volunteer work and role as family caretaker, Toula and Ian never seem to have enough time to spend with one another romantically. Toula is used to trying to fix every problem that comes her family's way, but with so many things happening at once, can she somehow find time to renew her own marriage's romantic spark?
When I started watching this film, I wondered if My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 would be as much fun as the original one. I was surprised to discover that I like this sequel even better than the first film. Sure, My Big Fat Greek Wedding introduced us to the dynamic that is a large Greek family, but this second movie takes us a bit further. I couldn't stop laughing, especially when Maria started really giving Gus the business about never receiving a proper marriage proposal. The idea of her going on strike as an "employee" in their marriage was hilarious.
Nia Vardalos and the rest of the cast have terrific chemistry and one can actually believe that this is a true family in every sense of the word. You can tell that the cast and crew had great fun making this film. Everyone's reprisal of their roles was terrific, especially Andrea Martin as Toula's feisty Aunt Voula and Bess Meisler as Mana-Yiayia, both of whom stole numerous scenes in the film. Newcomer to the mix Elena Kampouris was excellent as the teenager trying to escape the large, hovering ethnic mass that is her family.
I had a great time watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, laughing often and goofily smiling at the romantic scenes (yeah, I can enjoy a good romantic comedy just as much as anyone else). No Kleenex will be needed to watch this film, but you may have an aching belly thanks to all the laughter.