Granger on Movies: ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2’
If you’re looking for fun and nostalgia, don’t wait for an engraved invitation. Take yourself to Nia Vardalos’ sequel to her 2002 comedy, revolving around the close-knit, Greek-American Portokalos clan.
Based on actress/screenwriter Nia Vardalos’ semi-autobiographical one-woman theater piece, the first film, an immigrant’s Cinderella story, garnered her an Academy Award nomination for original screenplay and a Screen Actors Guild Ensemble nomination. It even inspired a short-lived TV sitcom spinoff.
Still living in suburban Chicago, down the street from her parents’ Acropolis-themed home, Toula (Vardalos) and her genial WASP husband Ian (John Corbett) now have a moody, monosyllabic teenage daughter, Paris (Elena Kampouris), a high-school senior; she’s filling out college application while trying to establish her own identity.
According to Toula’s elderly father Gus (Michael Constantine), the Greeks invited everything (including philosophy, democracy, hockey, even Facebook). As the family patriarch, he embarks on an Internet quest to confirm that he’s a direct descendant of Alexander the Great.
To provide his family history to Ancestor.com, Gus unearths his wedding certificate, only to discover to his horror that, 50 years ago, the priest never signed it. Which means he and Toula’s mother Maria (Lainie Kazan) aren’t really married.
That precipitates a crisis that even Gus’s ever-present solution — a spritz of Windex — cannot eradicate. Nor can bossy, meddling Aunt Voula (Andrea Martin).
Scripted with warm, ethnic humor by Vardarlos and gently directed by Kirk Jones ("Waking Ned Devine"), it attempts to recapture the relationship-driven magic. Casting incorporates everyone from the original, including NSync’s Joey Fatone as Toula’s cousin Angelo, and introduces John Stamos and (producer) Rita Wilson as the new Greeks on the block.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2" is a stereotypically sweet 7. Pass the spanakopita.