'My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2' review: Should have been a sitcom instead of a sequel
2002’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding was a breath of fresh air in the crop of romantic comedies, when the genre was getting increasingly cartoonish and synthetic. The stereotypical Greek jokes were just about lovable and alien enough forgive their hackneyed undertones and lead Nia Vardalos was a nice change from the Hollywood sawdust. The film became an unexpected hit and it was only a matter of time until the sequel arrived.
Arriving 14 years after the original film, the problem with My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is that it’s a little too late. The jokes now seem forced and the stereotypical nature of the characters seems jarring instead of lovable.
The story is more a situational comedy series turned into movie. Toula (Nia Vardalos) is now a mom to her teen daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris) and is predictably upset that she’s going off to college. Toula’s parents are trying as hard as they can to not give any space to both Toula and Paris. Toula has marriage troubles with her husband Ian (John Corbett) as their busy lives have made them forget the romance that they had.
There are a couple of things in the film that an Indian audience might connect to – for instance Toula’s father advising Paris to find a nice Greek boy to get married to at such a young age. There’s also a subplot of Paris’ grandparents discovering some secret about their own marriage and indulging in goofball comedy to sort the issue.
It’s all treated with a tone that is supposed to be cute and hilarious but it never feels engaging. The energy from the previous film seems to be gone – now all the effort seems to be placed into cashing in on the fact that this is a sequel to a successful movie. The lack of energy is curious, coming from director Kirk Jones who made the terrific 90’s British comedy Waking Ned Devine.
A large part of the problem can be attributed to the fact that there was a short lived TV show called My Big Fat Greek Life that followed the original movie. The series was bad enough to dilute the brand name. Fans of the movie were disappointed and eventually grew tired of the shtick, and this movie doesn’t really try to reinvent the wheel on any level.
Everything that happens here is a by the numbers, predictable comedy sketch and the lack of surprise in the film really makes you look at the watch more than once. There’s only so much you can smile at slapstick, or at cutesy accents, or at warm-hearted old people, or old people cracking non-veg jokes.
It’s a harmless watch for sure, but it’s not worth heading to the theaters for. It’s more a sort of a movie that could be accidentally discovered on TV and you watch it intermittently while doing your chores.
The only takeaway is that the film could have benefitted with a co writer adding something special to Vardalos’ unspectacular script. In the fourteen years since the original movie a lot has changed in the world and cinema audiences, but Vardalos’ approach to comedy unfortunately hasn’t.