A Portokalos family secret brings the characters back together for an even bigger and Greeker wedding
It’s hard to believe a whopping fourteen years have passed since we last saw the overwhelmingly loud and funny Greek-American family on our screens. The characters of 2002 have since got older, but the humour they deliver hasn’t weakened. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 focuses on Toula (Nia Vardalos) mothering a rebellious teenage daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris) and nursing her marriage with Ian (John Corbett), which has since been lacking its original spark. The not-so-dominant father figure is still endearingly irritating – insistent on the greatness of Greece, as well as the greatness of Windex. What faces the family now is a new dilemma surrounding Toula’s parents and their marriage (or lack of one), with the whole family coming together to fix it.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is much faster-paced than the first, cramming in more gags and enjoyment whilst skipping over any unnecessarily slow story-telling. We have the same tale of growing up and exploring independence which we saw in the 2002 flick. Now, this is the story of Toula and Ian’s seventeen year old daughter Paris. The smothering closeness of the Greek family living in Chicago impacts greatly on Paris, who is going through a period of suffering from teenage angst. Both My Big Fat Greek Wedding films have been said to model “female experiences”, yet I love this rom-com duo’s ability to make all members of the family laugh. With the release date of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 matching that of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice it seems that the target audience of our beloved Greek family will be those non-superhero-enthusiasts. I will not assume these will be largely female however; this film dishes out something for everyone’s taste.
The power of comedy as a genre means that serious topics can be explored with levity. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 does the same as its prequel when exploring themes of intercultural relationships and communities, bringing the experiences of many different groups of people living in the States to the screen. The nosy neighbour onlookers continuously judge Toula’s family for being “strange”, yet are curious enough to join in the wedding party later in the movie. Although perhaps over-revelling in the stereotypes associated with Greek families, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 lends itself to understanding people from different backgrounds; tying an uncommon theme into the rom-com alongside the more familiar familial lines.
As warm and light hearted as the first, it is pleasing to have the Big Fat Greek family back on our screens. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 verifies an unexpected public appetite for inoffensive culture-clash comedy and embarrassing aunt anecdotes, whilst telling a tale of growing up and gaining independence within a close-knit family setting.