Movie #37 2021: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (2016)

Some film critics are so snobbish that they would look at a movie like this, not pay attention to 80% of it because their noses were already turned up at it before it began, and automatically give it a one star rating. Not me. (And that also happens to be why I like the folks at Empire so much, in case you’re interested.)

As a big fan of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, I was just as eager to watch its sequel as I was the first film. The majority of critics gave it a single star – mainly for ‘stereotyping reasons’… even though next to none of them were actually Greek themselves – and never spoke of it again. (Honestly, this film was literally written by the Greek-Canadian actress Nia Vardalos, who grew up with Greek parents and a Greek father who was born in Kalavryta, so who are you to say these are ‘stereotypes’?)

The movie kicks off a whole 17 years after the first one ended, in part due to Vardalos taking time away from Hollywood to focus on having a family. To be honest, it’s pretty much more of the same, except that our hero Toula now has a 17-year old daughter. When sorting through his things, Toula’s father Gus realises that his marriage certificate was never actually signed by the priest who married them, therefore technically declaring their 40 year marriage null and void. You can guess what happens from there; the gang reassemble to give the ageing Greeks the wedding of their dreams.

With quips galore, the first twenty minutes or so of this sequel contain the stand out line “Why stand when you can sit?” These are words to live by, if you ask me. Even if you’re not Greek, these characters are simply so relatable as humans that you’ll feel part of the family once again.

When I watched the first Big Fat Greek movie last year, no one answered my question so I’ll ask it again: Where the heck is Nia Vardalos?! Once again, she’s disappeared off the face of the earth and it’s such a shame because she’s a complete delight. The entire cast is still wonderful, especially Andrea Martin and Michael Constantine as Toula’s zany aunt and her father respectively. I missed them, even though many reviews criticise Vardalos as ‘not being able to write well-rounded and relatable characters’. I just don’t understand those comments – each one of these people is so loveable.

To be honest, the plot is really wishy-washy and we absolutely did not need a sequel. However, it’s still really nice to check in with this group of people and I actually thought that this one… was often funnier than the original? (Don’t shoot me.) There just seemed to be more gags and one-liners this time round, even if the plot is somewhat sacrificed as a result.

As with the first film, there’s such a celebration of Greek culture and music with this film that’s so nice to immerse yourself in as the viewer. I seem to remember from the first instalment that some people claim that these films poke too much fun at the entire Greek people, but that’s bullshit. These films are a heartfelt love letter to Greece and her children, and if you don’t see that you’re missing the point. So what if they mention baklava a bit too much? Lighten up, my dudes.

You’re right: it’s not as good as the first one. But I really don’t care – this was incredibly easy to get through. Rather than feeling quite taxed by it all, by the conclusion it felt like I had just spent an hour and a half with friends.

Do yourself a favour and watch some lighthearted films for once. You don’t need to restrict yourself to The Godfather and niche indie cinema to be a good critic.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding is available to rent for £2.49 on Amazon in the UK.

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