Bringing back all things Greek this week from director Kirk Jones, writer Nia Vardalos and Universal Pictures is the return of everyone’s favorite Portokalos family with “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.”
Seventeen years has passed as Toula (Nia Vardalos) and husband Ian Miller (John Corbett) met and married. Now, their daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris) is feeling the heat of having a Greek mother, oh and a huge Greek family. She wants to get as far away from her family as possible to attend college, which is causing Toula and Ian to stress hard core. Grandpa just wants her to find a nice Greek boy and settle down.
Grandpa Gus (Michael Constantine) has other problems when he decides to make it official that he is a descendant of Alexander the Great by looking online. Filling out the paperwork he discovers that the marriage certificate to Maria (Lainie Kazan) was never signed by the priest. Oh yes, you absolutely know that this is disaster.
To the family this is a chance to have another very big fat Greek wedding and all become involved from son Nick (Louis Mandylor), who is now married with his own children, Nikki (Gia Carides), who is running the beauty shop, Angelo (Joey Fatone), Uncle Panos (Mark Margolis) and Aunt Voula (Andrea Martin).
Toula also has it brought to her attention that her own marriage needs a little lifting. With Paris leaving the nest, she realizes it may be time to reconnect with hubby to re-discover their life and give romance a little boost again.
This is the family who isn’t going to do anything any other way — but Greek!
Vardalos as Toula re-captures the role without missing a beat. Reverting back to the insecure Toula of 17 years ago, this character is back to looking a little haggard and becoming exactly like her mother.
Spending more time with being the perfect mom and working back at the restaurant, I pretty much hoped she would snap out of it quickly. Of course, had she done it there wouldn’t have been much of a film right? Vardalos is sweet and delivers her lines with snap and, personally, I think she just wanted to kiss Corbin again!
Speaking of Corbin as Ian, he is now the principal of the school where his daughter attends, so he is also always a step away from her. Being understanding with Toula and her mom issues, he finally brings it to his wife’s attention that it may be time to remember why they got together in the first place. Corbin doesn’t reinvent the character but instead embraces it and goes along with the Greek of it all.
Constantine as Grandpa is still hilarious. It is even funnier that his grandsons have taken over the tradition of finding the Greek root of words. When they are finished and say “there you go,” you hear Constantine say softly “there you go,” and it is just endearing. Kazan as Marie is still in the mix with the family but when she hears that the priest forgot to sign the marriage certificate, she sees it as an opportunity to have a beautiful wedding but she’s going to make Gus work for it!
Kampouris as Paris is a teenager embarrassed by the over-love of her family. She is grouchy, snappy, a little bitchy and that’s what I would expect — I’m just not a big fan of it. Toward the end, the calmer Paris comes into play and I can handle that. The story isn’t totally focused on her but what it fits the family’s reactions with the right amount of comedy.
I love Toula’s brother because he is the mixture of sweet and funny without even realizing he is. Fatone is also there to lend his comedy and cuteness. Uncle Panos just goes along with whatever the family wants and I think that’s how he manages to keep from going crazy.
The winner, of course, is Aunt Voula! Martin as Voula is adorable, hilarious, informative in her own explanation of things, insightful, and in this film the sane one of the bunch. I wish she was my Aunt just so I could hear her speak daily about life, love and more about her own love life!
Other cast include: Ian Gomez as Mike, Jayne Eastwood as Mrs. White, Bruce Gray as Rodney Miller, Fiona Reid as Harriet Miller, Rob Riggle as Northwestern Rep, Rita Wilson as Anna and John Stamos as George.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” four tubs of popcorn out of five. Mainly the score is because there is no other family like this one. They are based on total love for one another and even though they might screw up in the funniest of ways, it is done with the idea of what is best for all. Yes, they can be over bearing; yes they are loud and yes they are strong willed but let’s face it — they are Greek!
I am equally as thrilled that the cast all came together to make this happen again, even the actors playing Ian Miller’s parents. The film wouldn’t have the same familiarity to it without each and every person bringing their character back to audiences who will feel as if time hasn’t really passes.
In the end — people may change but these Greeks don’t!