Greek Wedding became a runaway hit, of course, eventually making $240 million and placing in the box-office top five alongside the likes of Spider-Man and that year’s Harry Potter, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings entries. Its magic had eluded me then, but re-watching it recently, I found myself enjoying its awkward, unglamorous charm. Back in '02, the ugly-duckling rom-com concept seemed so tired, especially as such movies rarely starred someone who
That same spirit is partly evident in the sequel, the imaginatively titled My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, which picks up the same characters some years later. The jokes are mostly the
But then, well, she doesn’t. It is one of the structural facets of these Greek Wedding movies that no narrative challenge ever hangs around for long; obstacles are set up and knocked down within minutes. As Maria and her fellow Greek ladies try to put together a kitschy, blow-out wedding, a professional planner appears for one montage — and then quits. Gus has a brother he left behind in Greece who shows up for the ceremony and appears to resent Gus’ success — for about 30 seconds. One of Toula’s relatives is hiding the fact that he’s gay from his family, and is then told it’s okay — it’s all over in,
There’s little drama here, but there is a touching sense of reflection. In the first film, Toula’s desire to do something more with her life and her attraction to the hunky Ian drove the story. Now, we see the way love fades across generations. As Gus and Maria try to remember what romance even felt like, Toula and Ian can sense it slowly draining from their own lives. (“Remember, you were a girlfriend before you were a mother,” Toula is somberly reminded.) Meanwhile, Paris seems to experience her first burst of romance at school. None of these elements are handled with much grace or nuance: A convenient prom subplot shows up for Paris at just the right point, while Toula and Ian have one abortive date night, which is good for a couple of easy laughs.
But again, it’s a nice movie. Not a good one, or a well-made one, or a smart one, but a nice one. It relies on our fondness for these characters and performers to paper over its many, many rough spots. That’s the sequel formula in general, but follow-ups aren’t usually looking back at their originals across a chasm of 14 years. Will those who adored the first film remember it, or care enough, to go along for the ride? It seems iffy. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 has some charming moments, but bank on this: It'll be quickly forgotten and relegated to the dustbin of history. And I’m never wrong about such things.