My Big Fat Greek Wedding

sleeping dogPG
Stars:   Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Michael Constantine, Lainie Kazan, Andrea Martin, Joey Fatone
Director:   Joel Zwick
Writer:   Nia Vardalos

I’ll be honest. Of course, I always have been. I had no desire to see this film when it was in the theaters. Nothing in particular about its concept appealed to me. But the public hordes running to this thing convinced me that it was something I must see … and that I was sure to fall right in line and love it too.

So off to Blockbusters I went and rented the DVD. With open mind and bated breath I hit the play button. I liked the music that accompanied the video montage on the opening screen. So far, so good. But somehow as I watched those images flicker by, I got the lousy feeling that the music was going to be the best thing about the film. It wasn’t long before I was proved right.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding is annoying and only vaguely amusing. It’s written by star Nia Vardalos from her one woman show, something that caught the eye of actress Rita Wilson who is also Tom Hanks’ wife. With this dynamic Hollywood duo behind it, the film got made, was promoted endlessly and it’s popularity was somehow spread by word of mouth causing it to become a megahit.

In my book, this cinderella tale is a flop. Nia Vardalos plays Toula Portokalos, a homely Greek-American girl, who is made to feel like an outcast by her family of overacting, overbearing caricatures. Father Gus (Michael Constantine) is the worse as he anguishes over his daughter’s single status. He’s the type of old fashioned patriarch who believes every woman’s place is in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant You want to smack him; that’s how unfunny he is. Momma Maria (Lainie Kazan) understands that Toula wants more out of life but she’s forced to play by Gus’ outdated rules, which are fairly inconsistent since it’s Maria who virtually runs the family restaurant, the “Dancing Zorbas”. Gus is also a supreme nationalist. That which is not Greek, very simply, is inferior. Listening to him go on and on about how any word in any language has a Greek root, is so overplayed, it’s tiring.

When Toula gets a rare chance to take some college courses, she sheds her glasses, dons decent clothing and cosmetics, gets a job at a family member’s travel agency and soon after meets her prince charming, Ian Miller (John Corbett), a nice high school teacher and very “inferior” WASP. For a time, Toula must convince her parents that Ian is her true love. Then it’s all about food, food and more food and the gigantic family wedding that bears down on us. Stereotypical nonsense abounds. There is not an iota of fresh air throughout the film. However, Vardalos and Corbett come closest to portraying human beings. Everyone else seems to be unknowingly practicing for the upcoming TV show. I can hear the laugh track now.

Lotta says: this film has made enough money already. No need to afford it any more. Try to find something else to watch.

Reviewed: 2/12/03