A full 14 years after the original My Big Fat Greek Wedding, it’s hard to imagine that any fans were clamoring for a sequel. After a failed television series (My Big Fat Greek Life lasted for seven episodes in 2003) it appeared that continuing the film’s storyline would not be financially responsible. And yet, here we are. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is a general rehashing of jokes and revisiting with old familiar characters, but overall it works.
Taking some liberties with the time passed since the last film, we find Toula and Ian (Nia Vardalos and John Corbett) dealing with their 17 year-old daughter, Paris (Elena Kampouris). She, like many typical teenagers, is embarrassed by her family and the Portokaloses are more embarrassing than most. They spray Windex on injuries, overshare medical histories, and travel in a giant swarm everywhere they go. Paris covers her face with her hair, wears terribly uneven eyeliner, and tries her best to fit in with the more normal classmates. When she gets in to colleges both near home and far away, she must decide which future is best for her.
Sticking to the title and general theme of the My Big Fat Greek movies, there is a big wedding in the film. Thankfully it does not involve marrying-off the teenaged Paris, and instead Toula’s parents. While doing research into his ancestry, Gus (Michael Constantine) discovers that his marriage license was never signed by the priest, and he and Maria (Lainie Kazan) were not officially married. This discovery turns their previously teasing relationship tense. The whole family rallies together to get the parents back together and try to turn the hearts of the aggressively stubborn couple.
To add to all that, Toula and Ian have lost their spark. Both in love and bored, the lovers try to rekindle the romance that made the first film such a hit with audiences.
And there is a new Greek family in town, with a television news announcer and his beautiful wife (John Stamos and Rita Wilson). And Gus keeps telling Paris that she needs to find Greek boyfriend. And one of the extended family members may be gay. And so on.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is faithful to the humor and tone of the original film, which is its strongest asset, but it tries to do far too much in the plot. At only 94 minutes it has as many subplots as an entire season of a sitcom. Rushing from conflict to conflict makes the film feel rushed and never gives each issue the weight and attention they deserve.
But as a comedy, the film is great. None of the jokes will have you rolling in the aisles, but they are funny and easy to digest. The film also increases the screen time of my favorite character from the first film: Aunt Voula. Andrea Martin shines as the oversharing aunt who discusses sex far more than anyone would want to with a family member. Despite her wild and constant level of inappropriateness, Martin lends heart to the character and embodies the character of the family as a whole. She is loyal, awkward, kind, and generous.
For anyone who adored the first film, they will likely get a kick out of another visit with old friends. Everyone is back for round two (or round 2.5 if you count television) and though late, the Portokalos family reunion plainly works.
Director: Kirk Jones
Film Length: 94 minutes
Release Date: March 25, 2016
Distributor: Universal Pictures