REVIEW: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (2016)

mybigfatgreekwedding2

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2016, Universal Pictures/Gold Circle Entertainment/Play-Tone

Director:
Kirk Jones
Producers:
Rita Wilson
Tom Hanks
Gary Goetzman
Writer:
Nia Vardalos (original characters and screenplay)
Cinematography:
Jim Denault
Editing:
Mark Czyzewski

Cast:
Nia Vardalos (Toula Portokalos-Miller)
John Corbett (Ian Miller)
Lainie Kazan (Maria Portokalos)
Elena Kampouris (Paris Miller)
Alex Wolff (Bennett)
Gia Carides (Cousin Nikki)
Joey Fatone (Cousin Angelo)
Louis Mandylor (Nick Portokalos)
Bess Meisler (Mana-Yiayia)
Andrea Martin (Aunt Voula)
Michael Constantine (Costa “Gus” Portokalos)
Ian Gomez (Mike Blondell)
Rita Wilson (Andrea Mikos)
John Stamos (George Mikos)
Stavroula Logothettis (Athena)

The Portokalos family of the 2002 hit film are back in this much-awaited sequel. Does it fare as good as the original? Not really, but it still has some very funny moments.

Toula Portakalos-Miller has been living the married life for quite a long time now. Her husband Ian, once an English teacher, is now the school principal. Toula still works in the diner and even volunteers for school events to stay close to her high school senior daughter, Paris. As Paris prepares to choose a college, Toula can’t help but want Paris to stay close to home. Paris, however, has other plans, but that becomes the least of Toula’s problems.

Aside from a loveless life with Ian due to the pressures of parenthood, Toula is in the shock of a lifetime when she learns that her parents have not been legally married when the priest in their Greek village forgot to sign the marriage certificate. This causes chaos between the parents but after a health scare, the parents agree to get legally married. Now Toula will have so much on her plate will she actually be fix everything? Or will she finally have her limits to deal with everything in her life?

In 2002, Nia Vardalos made a major impact with her hit film My Big Fat Greek Weeding, the story of a Greek woman who gets engaged to a non-Greek, causing massive uproar with her family. Many have wondered if Vardalos would do a sequel of sorts. She ended up doing a TV sequel series at first called My Big Fat Greek Life in 2003. However, with the notable absence of John Corbett returning for the series, perhaps the reason why the character of Ian was changed to Thomas, the series only lasted seven episodes before it was canceled. With that in mind, maybe it was time for Vardalos to do other projects such as the funny My Life in Ruins, and she felt it was now time to bring the Portokalos family to the big screen as it should have been intended. Once again, she not only stars but wrote the sequel.

The very smart move was to bring the original cast back for more of the culture clash and smothering of family. However, the major problem is not so much that we see Toula attempting to tackle three issues at once, but it seems like there are more variations of the same jokes in the original film. On the plus side, certain characters get more screen time. In this reviewer’s mind, the character of Mana-Yiayia, reprised by Bess Meisler, is a virtual scene stealer in the film and even has a trick or two up their sleeve. We even see some changes in some of the characters and Rita Wilson and John Stamos don’t add too much to the field but are there for the fun of it (Wilson is one of the film’s producers).

Another major plus is that the chemistry between Vardalos and John Corbett is still there, even though their now loveless marriage is just one of the issues Toula must contend with. Elena Kampouris makes a welcome new addition to the cast as the 17-year old Paris, who like Toula before her, is dealing with what it is like being Greek and how her family is constantly plaguing her. She does it well as a teen with major issues involving being smothered. As for former Naked Brothers Band drummer Alex Wolff, he makes the most of his screen time as a fellow senior who Paris befriends in the second half of the film.

In conclusion, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is not as good as the original, but think of it as visiting your favorite relatives and while hearing some different versions of the same kind of jokes, they still can be funny depending on your taste.

WFG RATING: B

This film is currently playing in theaters. Check your local theaters for showtimes.

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