Watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is like getting a hug from your great aunt: comforting and familiar but not particularly exciting.
It’s a shame because when the original movie hit screens 14 years ago, the tale of Toula, a 30-year-old shaking off her overbearing-but-sweet Greek family and marrying a non-Greek, became one of the most loved indie romcoms. This second serving of the Portokalos family doesn’t quite have the same impact.
Toula (played by Nia Vardalos, who also wrote the film) is now a clingy mom to teenager Paris (Elena Kampouris). Her relationship with husband Ian (John Corbett) has fizzled out. Her dad’s obsessed with proving he’s a descendant of Alexander the Great. Plus, to top things off, it turns out he’s not actually married to wife of 50 years Maria (Lainie Kazan). Time for a big fat wedding! If that sounds like a lot for one movie, it’s because it is. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 has so many storylines it feels like you’re watching an entire season of Modern Family in fast-forward.
There are laugh-out-loud moments, mainly from Andrea Martin, who returns as sassy over-sharing Aunt Voula. On the whole, though, the film rehashes a lot of the humor of the original: Vardalos’s script is as full of the same Greek-specific jokes, family tussles and references to “strong women” as the first. Plus, a joke about wedding-night sex – “My mother told me just pretend to faint and your husband will take it from there” – is very uncomfortable.
Aside from that moment, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is so full of gooey warmth and family values that it’s easy to forgive its shortcomings. If you loved the first one, you’ll happily sit through this one. It’s just not quite as good.