What a nice, sweet and funny movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is, a deserving sequel to the phenomenally successfully ($241 million gross on a $5 million budget) 2002 breakout hit.
For the Portokalos family, whom you grew to love in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and will love even more after this film, there is no difference, our heroine Toula (Nia Vardalos) says, “between hugging and suffocation.” To wit, the entire family lives within a stone’s throw of each other in a Chicago suburb, blatantly disregarding boundaries, personal space and any sense of privacy whatsoever. In this family, everything is everyone’s business.
For Toula, this is par for the course. She’s still happily married to Ian (John Corbett), but their 17-year-old daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris) is tired of Grandpa Gus (Michael Constantine) telling her she needs a nice Greek boyfriend. Toula also volunteers at the school, helps run her family’s restaurant, and is trying to get her father to propose to her mother (Lainie Kazan) after they learn their marriage certificate was never signed. Toula’s real problem, however, is that she’s neglecting her marriage, and Ian is noticing.
One of the nice things about this sequel, which Vardalos wrote and Kirk Jones (What to Expect When You’re Expecting) directed, is that Vardalos knows these characters and the actors playing them, so while writing, she can cater a joke to an actor’s strength. The chemistry and ease among the cast are also delightful; it’s one thing to have great material to work with, and another to know how to deliver the joke just right. This bunch knows how to get it just right.
For example, Gus believes everything in life somehow emanated with the Greeks. “What about Facebook?” he’s asked. “Greeks invented Facebook — we call it the telephone.” It’s a silly, nonsensical statement, but because it’s delivered in such a lovable and wacky (yet to him, serious) way, we laugh because, well, that’s just Gus.
You don’t have to see the original to appreciate the zaniness here, but it helps. The Windex jokes will make more sense, as will the quirky personalities of all involved. Best of all, though, is the realization that you missed these people, at least in part because they remind you of your own dysfunctional family. Perhaps My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 didn’t need to exist, but it does, and when you see it, you’ll be glad you did.
Here’s a fun fact for you: After the success of the first film, there was a spinoff, My Big Fat Greek Life, that aired on CBS in 2003. It didn’t last long: Toula’s name was changed to Nia, Ian’s name was changed to Thomas (all other names stayed the same), and the show was canceled after seven episodes.