‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2’ Review: Nia Vardalos And Gang Are Back, But Does This Family Shtick Still Work?

Universal Pictures

When the first movie makes $245 million in the U.S. alone, it’s only natural to expect a sequel. But it’s been 14 long years between 2002’s certified smash My Big Fat Greek Wedding and its follow-up. What has changed in the meantime? Apparently not much as My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 from writer-star Nia Vardalos offers more of the same and has reunited virtually the same cast, subbing the original director Joel Zwick for Kirk Jones.

As I say in my video review (click the link above to watch), audiences who flocked to MBFGW likely will do so for this sweet successor, which relies heavily on ethnic humor and Greek shtick. Vardalos, Oscar nominated for the MBFGW Original Screenplay, knows how to serve it all up to the crowd’s expectations, even if the movie plays like a feature-length sitcom episode. In fact she actually did turn this all into a failed CBS comedy series a few years ago, but the sour memory of that enterprise shouldn’t hurt business here. Don’t expect MBFGW2 to score the blockbuster success of the first, but Universal — which is releasing it into battle Friday against juggernaut Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice — knows counterprogramming when it sees it. I have to say there is something sweetly old-fashioned about all of this, and it’s nice to see a family that appears to be the polar opposite of dysfunctional in this day and age.

As you can tell by the title, more big fat Greek nuptials are in order, but in this case there’s a twist. It seems family patriarch Gus (Michael Constantine) and wife Maria (Lainie Kazan) discover a glitch on their wedding certificate, which was not signed by the priest. Technically, they have been living in sin all these decades, so after much complication and a medical emergency for Gus when he gets stuck in a bathtub (if you have to ask, don’t bother seeing this movie), they decide to have a second BFG wedding. Constantine, 88, and Kazan are old pros of the first order and milk their scenes for all they’re worth. Meanwhile, the subjects of the first BFG wedding, Toula (Vardalos) and Ian (John Corbett), are trying to reignite the spark in their own union while also dealing with daughter Paris (franchise rookie Elena Kampouris), who is looking at colleges, perferably one far away from her tightknit family. Most of this is just setup for lots of jokes, warm feelings and sage life advice from the likes of Aunt Voula (a hilarious and always welcome Andrea Martin). The large cast, which also includes returnees Gia Carides, Joey Fatone and Louis Mandylor, exacts the maximum comic mileage from Bess Meisler as the oldest member of the clan, as well as the most stereotypical (but that’s a close race with this group). Alex Wolff is a potential romantic interest for Paris, and also along for the ride this time are John Stamos and Rita Wilson as a married couple who pop in and out. Wilson again produces with husband Tom Hanks for his Playtone Productions and partner Gary Goetzman. Don’t expect any Oscar nominations this time around, but there is fun to be had here.

Do you plan to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2? Let us know what you think.

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2016/03/my-big-fat-greek-wedding-2-review-nia-vardalos-john-corbett-1201724499/