By Jack Rico
The 1-4-0: #MyBigFatGreekWedding2 is 14 years way too late. The original charming humor has faded and its comedy seems passé and stale. Even the cast can’t seem to save this Greek Wedding.
The Gist: Two plots seem to be at play here. One is seen through the eyes of Nia Vardalo’s parents and the other seen through Nia Vardalo’s character herself. The parents find out their not really married which is the main premise that drives the film’s pretext for another wedding, and Vardalo’s personal life is stretched in 3 ways: dealing with her daughter fleeing off to college, her marriage faltering and her family’s constant predicaments.
What Works: If one can commend anything in this film, it would be the return of the whole cast. That is rare and special. Many reunion movies try and and don’t always get everyone for whatever the reasons. Though the acting lacks at almost every level, the chemistry of the cast is sublime and when you have a large group of actors, it matters that they get along.
I’d be lying if the last few minutes of the film didn’t tug at the heart. You can feel the eyes wanting to activate those tear ducts. But why did this sequel have to take so long to make me feel an iota of emotion?
What Doesn’t Work: Let’s begin with the lack of “funny”. It’s only sensible to think that after 14 years between movies, Vardalos would have developed a stash of jokes that were well-thought out,battle-proofed and cleverly set-up for riotous punchlines. But no. Vardalos erred in injecting too many real-life situations to a film known for its whimsicality and playful tone. As a result, it changed the dynamics of what made the original so refreshing and lasting. To this day, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is still the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time with a whopping $368 million dollars worldwide. Don’t expect this sequel to break $15 million.
The ending was criminal. Without giving too much away, Vardalos and director Kirk Jones dragged us on this lemon plotline with Elena Kampouris, the daughter of Vardalos’ character, to only finish her arc poorly and incoherently. Unacceptable from a writer who was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. The whole film was chaotic, unstructured, badly edited and so not funny.
Pay or Nay: Nay. Sequels of smash hit movies (Dumb and Dumber To, Zoolander 2 and now this) cannot take over a decade to materialize, to then tank to the depths of ignominy. I understand. On paper, Vardalos thought that by adding substantial real-life relatable themes to audiences such as: marital hiccups, parent/daughter troubles and so forth, it would make the regular person say, “Wow, they nailed me!” and therefore have such a deep connection with moviegoers that it would generate even more revenue than the original. It backfired. The jokes and the situational comedy seem stuck in 2002, most of the actors have not aged well (which borders on that sad or nostalgic place), and again… that ending… it felt so backwards. This is not a real movie. It is a made-for-tv-movie which happens to be playing in theaters.