My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 ***

What a nice, sweet and funny movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” is, a deserving sequel to the phenomenally successfully ($241 million gross on a $5 million budget) 2002 breakout hit.   

Is it worth $10? Yes 

For the Portokalos family, whom you grew to love in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and will love even more after this film, there is no difference, our heroine Toula (Nia Vardalos) says, “between hugging and suffocation.” To wit, the entire family lives next one another in a Chicago suburb, blatantly disregarding boundaries, personal space and any sense of privacy whatsoever. In this family, everything is everyone’s business.

For Toula this is par for the course. She’s still happily married to Ian (John Corbett), but their 17 year-old daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris) is tired of Grandpa Gus (Michael Constantine) telling her she needs a nice Greek boyfriend. Toula also volunteers at the school, helps run her family’s restaurant, and is burdened with trying to get her father to propose to her mother (Lainie Kazan) after they learn their marriage certificate was never signed. Toula’s real problem, however, is that she’s neglecting her marriage, and Ian is noticing.

One of the nice things about this sequel, which Vardalos wrote and Kirk Jones (“What to Expect When You’re Expecting”) directed, is that Vardalos knows these characters and the actors playing them, so while writing she can cater a joke to an actor’s strength. The chemistry and ease shared by the cast is a delight as well; it’s one thing to have great material to work with, and another to know how to deliver the joke just right. This cast knows how to get it just right.

For example, Gus believes everything in life somehow emanated with the Greeks. “What about Facebook?” he’s asked. “Greeks invented Facebook – we call it the telephone.” It’s a silly, nonsensical statement, but because it’s delivery by Constantine in such a lovable and whacky (yet to him, serious) way we laugh because, well, that’s just crazy old Gus.

You don’t have to see the original to appreciate the zaniness here, but it will help. The Windex jokes will make more sense, as will the quirky personalities of all involved. Best of all, though, is the realization that you missed these people, at least in part because they remind you of your own dysfunctional family. Perhaps “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” didn’t need to exist, but it does, and when you see it you’ll be glad you did.

Did you know?
After the success of the first film there was a spinoff called “My Big Fat Greek Life” that aired on CBS in 2003. It didn’t last long: Toula’s name was changed to Nia, Ian’s name was changed to Thomas (all other names stayed the same), and the show was canceled after seven episodes. 

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