Tweetable Takeaway: More low stakes, easygoing humor populates #MyBigFatGreekWedding2 Tweet
MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2 is the kind of movie that uses the song “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge completely unironically. It’s a movie that wants nothing more than to give some easygoing, low-stakes entertainment for an hour and a half. The problems that plague its characters are problems we all face, and typically end up being easy enough to overcome. A husband doesn’t know how to show affection for his wife. A couple thinks they’ve lost the passion in their marriage. A mother has to deal with her daughter moving away for college. Many of the same story beats, lines, and jokes found in the first film are retread here. It’ll please fans of the original, and won’t win any new converts over. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is easily digestible, where the most exciting part of the movie is trying to spot who aged the worst in the 14 years since the first Greek Wedding (I’m looking at you, Joey Fatone).
Nia Vardalos is back behind the writer’s chair for this second outing, in addition to reprising her role as Toula. Toula is no longer the focus of the story, rather, several characters share the spotlight. First, Toula and Ian (John Corbett) now have a teenage daughter (Paris, played by Elena Kampouris) who struggles against the huge, Greek family that dominates her life every waking (and likely sleeping) moment of her life. Toula’s parents discover their marriage license was never signed and they now have to get remarried. The mother, Maria (Lainie Kazan) wants her husband Gus (Michael Constantine) to show a little romance this time around, but he’s stubborn about it. And finally, Toula and Ian struggle with their own marriage, trying to find the time to date and be spontaneous again.
Most of the jokes revolve around the giant Greek family imposing on everyone’s personal lives. The mileage the two films manage to get out of this one premise is surprising, though it’s reaching the point of self-parody. There’s a great opportunity for some enterprising YouTuber out there to recut this film as a horror trailer, in which the family stalks and haunts Toula and her daughter. What was once a passable joke about the overbearing family in the original Big Fat Greek Wedding has now reached the point of saturation, where family members materialize like Michael Myers in Halloween, ready to terrorize their victims anywhere and any time. One scene has Toula and Ian embarking on car sex, and within seconds no less than five family members who happened to be walking around outside appear outside the car, peeping in on the horrified couple. The coincidences in this film border on supernatural.
The conflicts that exist in the film never feel truly threatening or uncomfortable. No characters are truly pressured to change in any way. Most exist simply so that gags can play out. There are conflicts, for sure, but none with terribly high stakes. Gus doesn’t feel like proposing to his wife again, but a few scenes of her acting upset and he soon does. The wedding planner quits, and a scene later all the family members are dividing up responsibility. These easily solved conflicts are peppered throughout the movie to keep it moving along. But it’s not an urgent, tension-filled ride. It’s an ambling tour through a movie, one in which detours are often taken so we can see four grown men try to take out a naked senior citizen who gets stuck in his bath tub. Even worse is when the movie introduces a conflict with no prior setup and immediately resolves it. The worst offender in the movie comes from Joey Fatone’s character suddenly revealing an aspect of his sexuality around the final quarter of the film. Nothing much comes of it, only the slightest of angst, no story time had been devoted to it earlier, and it exists seemingly to give way to a joke at the very end. A joke that ends up not being very funny, either. Examples like this can be found throughout the film, and tear away at a cohesive thematic punch.
With all that said, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 isn’t awful. At its worst, it’s simply tolerable. At its best, it’s amusing. The movie works best when it taps into human truths, like trying to teach a senior citizen how to use a computer. However, all the gags and story threads often get tied up nice and neat, and exist to entertain in the short term, rather than build to any sort of emotional, lasting movie. It’s not a film that aims to accomplish anything more than filling a craving for a pleasant, semi-comedic romp of a movie for viewers. And for the most part, it succeeds. There’s just that wish the film had reached a little higher.
I give My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 2.5 aged Joey Fatones out of 5
Score: 2.5 out of 5
Wil Loper | Contributor