"My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2" Movie Review Essay
It’s been 14 years since we first learned Windex is a cure-all and that “kimono” is derived from the Greek word for winter. And in all that time, My Big Fat Greek Wedding has remained the top-grossing romantic comedy. Ever. And what’s not to like? A motley crew of characters, a hilarious culture clash, and a genuine, heartfelt story all came together in a spot-on rom com.
Writer and star Nia Vardalos explained she was just waiting for the right story to come along to merit a sequel (along with the chance to put the ill-advised, short-lived CBS sitcom behind her), and though My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 doesn’t come off as a wholly inventive, sequel-worthy effort, it still manages to be a fun and sweet return to the world of the Portokalos clan.
And by return, I mean return.
Entire scenes have been lifted from the original and re-purposed, starting with the opening dialogue in a rain-soaked car. And obviously, there’s still the titular big, fat Greek wedding– only this time it’s Toula’s parents Gus and Maria taking the vows, after Gus (Michael Constantine) discovers their marriage license is invalid.
In fairness, there are a couple new subplots to keep things relatively fresh. Toula (Vardalos) is struggling to make time for a date night with husband Ian (John Corbett)–which leads to a funny moment as they reprise their “parking” moments from the first film–and their 17-year-old daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris) is weighing college options along with the same “marry a nice Greek boy” pressure Toula herself endured in the original.
All of the supporting players are back for the ride, too, including Andrea Martin as wild-n-crazy Aunt Voula, Louis Mandylor as goofball brother Nick, and even Bess Meisler as the cranky-pants, Turk-hating grandma.
Director Kirk Jones (Waking Ned Devine) subs in for Joel Zwick and doesn’t miss a beat, keeping the same feel and brisk pace. He even resurrects most of the original sets from the first go-round, making it nearly impossible to believe that almost a decade and a half has passed since we saw Ian get that first cup of coffee in Dancing Zorba’s.
Sure, the faces have a few more lines on them, and there are a couple of moments where Vardalos’ screenplay verges into “stale” territory, but for the most part, it all comes together. And although MBFGW2 doesn’t offer anything particularly new or noteworthy, there’s still some comfort in the fact that we get to be part of the Portokalos’ nutty world one more time.