My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 - Redefines "Sleeper" Hit

Marter | 26 Mar 2016 12:00
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Directed by Kirk Jones. Produced by Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, and Rita Wilson. Written by Nia Vardalos. Release date: March 25, 2016.

In 2002, the film world was taken over, for a good while, by a small film called My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It came out of nowhere, grossed over 70x its budget, and was all that anyone could talk about for a nice chunk of time. Both critics and audiences liked it, it got an Academy Award nomination - and yet, outside of the context of its sequel, you probably haven't thought about it in at least a decade. It came, it took over, and then it was gone.

It inspired a TV series ... which lasted a total of seven episodes. Its star and writer, Nia Vardalos, struggled to find success, and most of the cast took bit roles since then. Even John Corbett, the most famous person to appear on-screen in the series, has focused - or been relegated to - mostly on TV work. My Big Fat Greek Wedding was a funny movie that had unprecedented box office success, but otherwise changed very little for anyone. Now we're back, 14 years after the fact, hoping to recapture even a modicum of success the original found. While I can't speak for its box office potential, I can say that almost all of the magic of the original has been lost here, try as everyone might.

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Vardalos is back as Toula, the lead - designated as such only because she gets voice-over narration and nobody else does. She married Ian (Corbett) in the other, which was more difficult than it should have been because he's not Greek, and Greeks marry other Greeks, we learned. The barrier was broken, they now have a teenage daughter, Paris (Elena Kampouris), and while things aren't perfect, they're tolerable.

The wedding from the title is actually that of Toula's parents, Gus (Michael Constantine) and Maria (Lainie Kazan), whom we learn never officially officialized their marriage. The film passes up a great chance to call a couple of its characters "bastards" without it technically being profane - and then the family decides to plan and execute an actual marriage. The B story sees Paris trying to decide between a college in New York or one close to her family in Chicago - being torn between her insane family and her independence.

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