It was a difficult task for Nia Vardalos to set before herself to recreate the innocence and warm-hearted humour of the surprise hit of 2002, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. While My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is not a massive miss it is not as successful in any way as the first. Even the jokes that were so cute in the first one find themselves with a rather tired feel to them the second time around.
I am a big fan of ethnic comedy. Though with the caveat of when it is done well. A clever look at the traits or idiosyncrasies of any culture can bring about huge laughs. Though it is a well that you cannot go back to time and time again without changing things up or things will begin to feel forced and stale. Scriptwriter and lead actress Vardalos falls into that trap. Everything about 2 has that been there, done that feel to it.
Like most 17-year-olds Paris (Elena Kampouris – Labor Day, Men, Women & Children) is embarrassed and sometimes even horrified by the behaviour of most the members of her family. It goes a step further than your typical embarrassment when you are a member of the Portokalos family. Saying they are Greek is like saying Amy Schumer is funny. It is obvious. At a time in her life when Paris is trying to fit in with her peers and try out being an independent being while the Portokalos members are having none of it. To say they are close is an understatement. Paris just wants her own space. She is not the only Portokalos having a tough time of it.
During this time, the patriarch and matriarch of the family find out that they have never actually been married as the priest forgot to sign the marriage certificate. Despite the fact that they have been together for 50 odd years it seems like there is trouble in paradise where Gus (Michael Constantine – The Hustler, My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and Maria (Lainie Kazan – Beaches, Pixels) are concerned. Maria wants to be properly proposed to before she will go through with a wedding and Gus is as romantic as a porcupine.
Even the marriage of Ian (John Corbett – Sex and the City 2, Serendipity) and Toula (Nia Vardalos – My Life in Ruins, Connie and Carla) is having its problems. They have been married a while and the spark seems to have gone out. They don’t really have time for one another and Ian sees Toula as trying to fix every issue that comes up in her tight-knit family rather than putting some effort into their marriage.
Even talented director Kirk Jones (Waking Ned Devine, Nanny McPhee) doesn’t seem to know how to give this old dog some new tricks. He seems to just be willing to go with the flow of the first picture and not try and recreate the wheel. The passage of 14 years between films does not seem to have been enough time for everyone involved in the making to have come up with a few new things. Anything…
For large swatches of the film I found my mind wandering to the question of whether the word rehash has Greek origins or has found its legs in this film?
-Making the Greekquel
-My Big Fat Greek Dinner