Thursday, March 24, 2016

Still Big. Fat and Greek After All These Years

A Sequel 14 Years in the Makiing

By Skip Sheffield

Fourteen years ago I saw an advance screening of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” I thought at the time this charming, offbeat comedy is going to be a hit. I repeated that same thought when I had the good fortune to meet the stars; Nia Vardalos, who also wrote the script, and John Corbett, who played her non-Greek boyfriend who became her husband.
Both stars are back for “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,” and they look remarkably the same as they did 14 years ago. Does lightning strike twice? Maybe, but in this case it is hard to top the novelty of the original.
Toula (Nia Vardalos) and Ian Miller (John Corbett) are now a settled married couple with a 17-year-old daughter, Paris (Elena Kampouris). Paris has applied to several colleges for admission. Her parents want her to go to Northwestern, in her home town of Chicago. Paris would rather go to New York University, in the big, bad Big Apple.
The wedding of the title refers to a ceremony with Toula’s parents Maria (Lainie Kazan) and Gus Portokalos (Michael Constantine), who run Zorba’s, the family Greek restaurant. Through some clerical error they are not legally married.

Ian Miller is now a school principal. Toula still works at her family restaurant. There is a little side business with Paris being matched with a suitable Greek boy and the older men getting inappropriately sloshed. There are no alerts to be spoiled. That’s pretty much it. There are a few pleasant laughs along the way, thanks in part to always-reliable Andrea Martin as kooky Aunt Voula, but “Greek Wedding 2” breaks no new ground. Nia Vardalos has not been as successful in her endeavors as she was with the huge sleeper 2002 hit of the first “Greek Wedding.” Nia Vardalos is a nice lady and I wish her the best, but I think this gold mine is pretty much played out.

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