Marrying comedy, romance, Greeks and a little letdown

The family you know, love and are grateful isn’t yours is back, bigger and louder than ever in the sequel to “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time.

As Toula (Nia Vardalos) struggles with fixing her family, sending her daughter off into the world and spending time with her husband, Ian (John Corbett), her father and mother discover that they in fact were never legally wed. After the family gets over the fact that Gus (Michael Constantine) and Maria (Lainie Kazan) were living in sin for 50 years, it decides to band together to finally throw them their own big, fat Greek wedding.

From the less than promising commercials, I assumed that, like so many sequels, the film would be a bust, simply rehashing the best of the original with a mediocre storyline, and though the film is not as good as the first, it is pleasantly surprising with witty humor—granted most is inspired by the first film—and a new, occasionally touching story.

Paris (Elena Kampouris) Toula and Ian's daughter flirting with a classmate at her prom. Courtesy of Universal Studios.

Paris (Elena Kampouris) Toula and Ian’s daughter flirting with a classmate at her prom. Courtesy of Universal Studios.

Admittedly, the synopsis—a Greek word, of course—above is an incredibly rough summary of the film because there are countless stories going on all at once, from the wedding planning to Toula and Ian’s daughter, Paris (Elena Kampouris), deciding on which college she wants to attend.

The numerous plot lines are overwhelming so that no story is ever really complete, especially Toula’s own struggles, but altogether it is not difficult to follow and is never boring.

It is easy to think it is a project to cash in on the success of the first, but after seeing the film, it is clear that Vardalos, who is also the writer, cares deeply for all of her characters and wants them to all have a part in the second installment, even if that means it is a little over-packed and unfinished.

Drawing on many classic jokes like Aunt Voula’s disconcerting myriad of maladies and the detail of bundts plugged with flowers, Vardalos does a fine job of paying homage to her first film while also giving the second its own life.

Unlike the original, the second is much more Hollywood with big-budget themes and humor, yet it still does a nice job of incorporating sentimental moments that may force a lump in your throat. Don’t worry, it’s not Aunt Voula’s twin; it’s just emotion.

Of course, all the favorite characters return, including Yiayia—yes, she is still alive—and they all look pretty good considering it has been 14 years.

In comparison to the much beloved characters, it seems probable that the new characters, notably Kampouris, will detract from the reunion, so the prospect of Paris, an impudent teenager, being a major figure in the plot is not exciting to say the least.

Still, Kampouris brings decent acting skills and a unique parallel to the rest of her family that makes it more approachable as a multi-generational film, the best aspect of the storyline.

The generation gap between she and her grandparents emphasizes that the plot is not about a wedding at all but about the struggles of change that come with age, a subject relatable to viewers both young and old.

The story is perfectly sappy and easy to enjoy, but be fair-warned that unless you are a fan of the first, this film will be Greek to you. If you are in fact a fan, see it because it is as sweet as baklava and as funny as remembering Joey Fatone once danced in *NSYNC with Justin Timberlake.
-Delaney King