“My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2”: The Portokalos family is back, flailing through another complicated wedding — and many batches of baklava — in a remake that’s as sweet and insubstantial as dessert. 2 stars out of 4.
“My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” isn’t really a sequel, not any more than your latest batch of baklava is a sequel to the previous one.
It’s a remake, featuring all the same ingredients, cast members and themes (namely: parents trying to control their children’s lives, swarms of relatives constantly showing up unexpectedly and insanely elaborate weddings to be planned). Considering how virtually none of the cast members appear to have aged in the 14 years since the original, you’d swear that it actually is the first movie, or was perhaps constructed from outtakes.
That said, these characters have, at least theoretically, moved on. Toula (Nia Vardalos, who wrote both films) and her husband Ian (John Corbett) are now the parents of a photogenically cranky teen named Paris (Elena Kampouris) who — horrors! — is talking about leaving home to go to college. Though Toula’s happy in her marriage, her life has gotten a little stale; she spends her time taking care of her garrulous parents (Lainie Kazan, Michael Constantine) and working at the family’s Greek restaurant, where she’s taken to wearing the Brown Smock of Doom that symbolizes — as it did in the first movie — that she needs a makeover.
Movie Review ★★
‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,’ with Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Lainie Kazan, Gia Carides, Joey Fatone, Louis Mandylor, Michael Constantine, Andrea Martin. Directed by Kirk Jones, from a screenplay by Vardalos. 94 minutes. Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material. Several theaters.
And, presumably because Paris is too young to get married and this film can’t exist without a wedding, Toula’s parents learn that, due to a technicality on their wedding certificate, they’ve never actually been married. Cue the multicolored wedding cake, the hanging lights, the buffet tables and the Greek dancing!
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None of this has any real reason for being; even the tiniest bit of drama that Vardalos’ screenplay scares up (Will the wedding happen? Will Paris go to college? Will Toula figure out how to keep her hair looking bouncy?) gets wrapped up by the hour mark. But Vardalos has created a community of characters and players so likable, it seems almost mean to criticize — like picking on one’s own annoying but beloved relatives. So let me just say that I found a few moments to enjoy — particularly Andrea Martin’s Aunt Voula, who likes to explain her medical problems to strangers, and the performance-artist-like great-grandmother, played almost wordlessly by Bess Meisler.
But if “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” comes to theaters, I might stay home. And call my mother.