My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (2015)

March 18th, 2016
Author: Meredith Taylor

Director: Kirk Jones

Cast: Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Michael Constantine, Lainie Kazan, Andrea Martin, Elena Kampouris

94min | USA | Comedy Drama.

British director Kirk Jones made his name with a string of watchable comedy dramas such as Nanny McPhee and Everybody’s Fine. In MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2, he joins forces with writer Nia Vardalos, who carries the story forward from the original film, directed by Joel Zwick. With the same verve and the same cast as Part One, Kirk again conjures up the ebulliently loving and often overbearing nature of these family-oriented Mediterraneans.

Not much has changed for Toula (Vardalos) since she got married to Ian (Corbett) – if possible, things have got worse. Not only is she trying to motivate their 17-year old daughter Paris (Kampouris) to study at NW University in Chicago, so she can keep her at home; but her parents Gus (Constantine) and Maria (Kazan) have found out that they were not technically married in the first place and now want to be marry for real – in a big way. Toula and Ian’s marriage is on life support, as they rarely see each other: poor Toula is still slogging it out at her parent’s restaurant ‘Dancing Zorba’s’. All generations of the Portocalos clan live in three houses next to each other. Privacy is impossible and apart from everyone living on top of each other, hordes of relatives are likely descend at any moment on their unsuspecting in-laws. This status quo is fine for most of the elder generation, but Toula and Ian’s love life is often conducted in their own driveway – with the whole family as inadvertent voyeurs. Aunt Voula (Martin) always knows best and wants to be in charge of the wedding preparations but Toula does all the real work while her grandmother blithely bets the family finances away on her mobile. Gus torments everybody with his purported blood line to Alexander the Great and Gus and Maria’s wedding plans continually threaten to go off the rails.

Portocalos’ family is shown larger than life: faults and idiosyncrasies are highlighted, nobody is spared. The men in the family  (apart from a weak Ian) are shown as overgrown babies, relying on their wives to get them trough life. But Vardalos never denounces her characters, showing them simply as frightened emigrants, trying to recreate the lifestyle they left behind in their beloved homeland. Emotions may be cloying at times, but they are enduring; relationships are not discarded in the face of difficulty. DoP Jim Denault expresses the histrionics in bold primary colours using long panning shots to show the circus atmosphere of family life, where clowns often run the show. Vardolos is impressive as the heroine, tragic and comic by turns, and there is valiant support from a sterling support, particularly John Corbett as her husband, Ian. Although My big fat Greek Wedding 2 lacks the spontaneity of the original, it still stands as a humane exploration of old world values colliding with contemporary life in the USA. AS


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