Sunday, March 27, 2016

Review: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

My family and I loved the original film; my father often said that it bore a strong resemblance to his courtship of my mother, sans the religious conversion to Greek Orthodox. Of course I wanted to see the sequel. Toula's family was wacky, lovable, annoying, and over-the-top Greek.

I was not disappointed. In a feat comparable to the recent X-Files miniseries, the cast reunited to play the same characters as before, but 10-15 years down the road. Due to the economic downturn, Toula is working in the family restaurant again, and has become a central support to her family, volunteering for committees, taking her father to physical therapy, and being the person the family turns to when things go wrong (as, of course, they do). Ian has become a high school principal. Their daughter, Paris, is graduating and desperately wants to get away from her overwhelming extended family. She is considering going to New York for college; her parents want her to stay in Chicago.

Did I mention that things went wrong? Well, they did. Gus, Toula's father, ardently wants to prove that he is descended from Alexander the Great. I think this is rather amusing, since the Greeks of Alexander's time considered him Macedonian and thus a xenos. While filling out his documentation for the genealogy website, he discovers that his wedding certificate (issued in Greece) hasn't been signed or stamped with the seal of the Church. He and Maria have been living in sin all these years.

Okay, so easy fix, right? They can get married in the church they go to. Not so fast, though: Maria wants Gus to propose properly. Apparently, his first proposal consisted of "I'm going to America; you can come with me, or stay here." Gus, being a stubborn ass, refuses to humor her. This is the first of several hurdles Toula must help the family cross before they get Gus and Maria to the altar. You didn't think this film was going to end with anything but a wedding, did you?

Oh, yeah, Paris makes her decision. Unlike the major plotline of the film, it was less predictable. Plus, we do get to see Toula and Ian realize that the majority of their interactions concern their child and the family, and wonder if there's any 'them' beyond that.

Part of the buzz going on about the film is the revelation that cousin Angelo is gay. They refer to it as cousin Angelo coming out, but it really was less of him coming out and more the family asking him if his business partner is something more than that (they are nosy, after all). Lo and behold, another xenos in the family, life goes on. I thought it was handled nicely.

I enjoyed the film greatly, but it doesn't really work as a standalone film. If you loved the characters in the original film, it's a good catchup. Otherwise, stick with the original.

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