THERE are notable exceptions, but it’s a truism of cinema that sequels seldom match the expectations generated by their forebears. At the 2003 Oscars, Nia Vardalos was nominated in the Best Screenplay category for “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” which has since brought her numerous lesser nominations and awards.
Until I saw MBFGW2 I didn’t know Ms Vardalos existed. Now, as well as writing it, I’ve seen her playing Toula, the female lead. Am I impressed? In her mid-fifties, she looks fine, her acting skills are adequate and her writing is redolent with clichés that made me laugh occasionally, (which few American domestic comedies have done) and exasperated me with other recyclings of stale material.
The prime dramatic proposition is that Toula’s mother Maria (Lanie Kazan) discovers that the priest didn’t sign the certificate of her marriage to Gus (Michael Constantine). So they aren’t married. For Maria, this is whoopee time, freedom at last. Gus is a one-idea bore who insists that everyone on the planet is descended from Alexander the Great and therefore Greek.
The minor proposition is seventeen-year-old Paris (Elena Kampouris), the only child of Toula and High School principal Ian (John Corbett). The abjuration of the older women that Paris must not let a boy touch her before marriage becomes tiresome after its first repetition. Paris wants to go to University as far away as she can from Chicago and all those aunts, uncles and cousins whose Greek ethnicity and behaviour dominate her life.
The two preceding paragraphs just about embrace the film’s main elements that readers might find useful in deciding whether to see it or not. Its most ha ha parts involve grandmother Ylayla (Bess Meisler), not a lot of dialogue but sweetly comical.
At Palace Electric, Capitol 6 and Hoyts.