”A classic!” Those are usually the first two words you hear when someone describes My Big Fat Greek Wedding. So why hadn’t I seen it before now? I don’t know. Being 10 years old when it was released might have something to do with it I guess. But it was time to put a stop to all that and bite the bullet.
Made on a relatively shoestring budget, My Big Fat Greek Wedding was an absolute smash mega-hit when it came out. To put that in context, the movie was produced on only $5 million and ended up being so huge at the box office that it made $368 million. That is insane even by today’s standards. And to think, the basic premise for the movie is that Nia Vardalos plays adult loser Toula, who is still living with her parents and working as a waitress in her Dad’s Greek restaurant. She then meets the man of her dreams (John Corbett) and begins to transform her life. That’s it. It’s basically a rom-com, and it made all them dollars. So why is it so special?
Before we get into that, where actually is Nia Vardalos these days?! She should be in every comedy known to man, and the fact that she wrote this is just a testament to how multi-talented she is. Hollywood, step it up.
What My Big Fat Greek Wedding excels at the most is being such a warm, happy movie with so many laughs within it. I’m not entirely sure how some people dislike it, when it’s heart is completely in the right place. For instance, I saw one critic (a man) try to claim that it’s “too sexist”. I mean, I’m not sure how qualified a man is to label something sexist against women, yet here we are. Anyway, if by sexist you mean “explanative of Greek culture” then you would be right, kind Sir. In sum: fuck off.
I’ve already gone into a little bit of dept on the budget for the film, and that it’s roots are quite independent from any major studio, but it just feels so big! Perhaps because of the big personalities. Indie or not, it’s clear to see why this was a smash hit at the time of release, and most of it still stands up today and remains relevant. Standing the test of time is not always easy with romantic comedies, but the difference with this one is that it doesn’t just focus on the relationship at the forefront; it’s about family. Family is a topic that has such universal appeal, and – Greek or not – it’s impossible not to look at these characters and see someone from your own family on the screen. It’s wonderful to see such topics have such prevalence.
The music is spot on – pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a movie about a Greek family.
Despite over-simplifying the plot in the synopsis above, there’s quite a lot of ground to cover here plot-wise. We are taken on a journey with Toula and her transformation, and what’s so great is that it’s all squeezed into a little over 90 minutes yet doesn’t feel rushed. A really great screenplay with good editing – more props to Vardalos for that.
With a multitude of themes, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what the best thing about this movie is. For me, the fact that the story is so much about the women and their strength really resonated for me (my own family is female-heavy). The protagonist’s father obviously takes a large role – and is excellent, for the record – but it is the women who are portrayed as intelligent and understanding, and even the groom (Aiden from Sex and the City, I’ve forgotten your name, sorry) takes a back seat.
What can I say? This is a movie that’s impossible to hate. It’s full of love, and continues to be wildly funny to this day. Though it won’t go down in movie history as an epic, must-see movie, it’ll definitely go down in movie history as the little film that could.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.
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