Hollywood’s penchant for a sequel meant that a follow-up to 2002’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding was always inevitable. That’s what happens when a $5 million indie grosses $368.7 million.
But this is far from a shallow attempt to cash-in on the success of its predecessor. Not only has Nia Vardalos taken 14 years to craft My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, but the lack of wholesome, romantic comedies and films that revolve around proud immigrant families means that its arrival is actually a welcome relief.
For those very reasons, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 doesn’t try to rock the boat, sticking to the same decent formula that made the first film so popular and appealing. However, despite trying to maintain this same spirit and energy, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 ultimately deflates because of its measly content and plot, which are lifted straight out of a bad sitcom that you’d rather wince at and make fun of than ever laugh with.
It also doesn’t help that Nia Vardalos’ script is packed full of unoriginal, stale set-ups and jokes that feel 14-years out of date. An overbearing mother embarrassing her daughter at school? You’ve got it. Elderly family members inappropriately talking about sex in front of a teenager? Of course! An old man struggling on a computer? There’s even a montage.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2’s plot would be more at home on the small screen (if not for the fact that television has evolved in the past 14 years). It turns out that Toula’s (Nia Vardalos) mother and father were never officially married, as the priest failed to sign their wedding certificate over 50 years ago. Obviously, this sets the family off on a mad dash to right this wrong, while at the same time Toula and Ian (John Corbett)’s daughter is preparing for prom and trying to pick her college.
This relegates Nia Vardalos and John Corbett’s characters to the sidelines, which hugely hinders My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. They needed to be front and center for this sequel, as the pair’s camaraderie and sparkle was one of the main reasons why the first film connected with audiences around the world. Even in the handful of scenes that they have together, the same patter is once again generated with ease. But this is slightly undercut by the fact that their subplot sees them struggling with contrived marital issues, which is just a waste.
The same huge, family ensemble, which includes Andrea Martin, Joey Fatone, Michael Constantine, and Lainie Kazan, each return, and are able to admirably assist the comedy. But the posse is so gargantuan that My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is repeatedly stunted, and fails to build any rhythm as it turns to them for quips and jokes, most of which fall flat.
It should be noted that I am firmly not My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2’s intended audience. And while its as predictable and lame as a sitcom, it’s also occasionally as cozy, warm, and wholesome as one, too. But instead of emerging from the shadow of the original, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2’s is suffocated by it, and its faults will instead remind you of what made the first film so endearing.