Rated PG-13. Running time: 1 hour 32 min.
Our content ratings: Violence 0; Language 2; Sex/Nudity 3.
Our star rating (1-5): 3
Love is patient; love is kind…
1 Corinthians 13:4a
Screenwriter Nia Vardalos sets her sequal many years after her first Big Fat Wedding, with Kirk Jones directing this time. Toula (Vardalos) and Ian (John Corbett) are trying not to be as Greekified with their 17-year-old daughter Paris Elena Kampouris) as Toula’s parents Gus (Michael Constantine) and Maria (Lainie Kazan) Portokalos. The latter still parade their Greek ethnic pride around, still uttering the challenge, “Give me a word, ANY word, and I will tell you its Greek roots.” Toula and Ian’s biggest fear is that Paris might choose NYU rather than a Chicago area university.
The major plot revolves around the discovery that back in Greece the priest failed to sign Gus and Maria’s wedding license, so technically they are not married. The solution seems simple—just go an official and repeat their vows. However Maria wants a big wedding, and this includes Gus proposing to her. He refuses to do so, and thereby is banished to the couch.
The multitude of Greek relatives are still around espousing various gags. This includes Bess Meisler as the elderly family matriarch who eventually speaks this time a lot more than before. Little wonder that Paris wants to escape from her Greek bubble, with Gus telling her that she must marry a Greek boy and “make Greek babies. In addition Gus spends a lot of time and energy trying to prove that he is a direct descendent of Alexander the Great.
For me the most moving scene in the film is when Gus, refusing to continue with the wedding ceremony because of his feud with Maria, leaves the sanctuary. His brother Panos (Mark Margolis), having flown in from Greece for the wedding, joins him and reminds him what he saw in Maria the first time, thus bringing the stubborn man to his senses.
I enjoyed this sweet comedy, as I did the first one. However, I never added the original to my large DVD collection because it was one of those movies I find entertaining but not so much that I care to watch it again. The same goes for this one. Still, from what I have seen in the trailer for The Boss, this is far more satisfying film for those seeking light entertainment. It is both a celebration of family values, and a cautionary one of a family being so close that it threatens to smother its younger members. The senior Portokaloses would do well to listen to Kahlil Gibran’s line from his poem “Children,” “Your children are not your children./They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself./They come through you but not from you.” (See the beautiful film Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet.) But, of course, they probably would not accept his wisdom—he was Lebanese, not Greek.)
This review with a set of discussion questions will be in the May 2016 issue of VP.