Anthony's Film Review
My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
A decent and predictable romantic comedy with an interesting cultural flavor...
My Big Fat Greek Wedding has what you pretty much expect in many romantic comedies. The only reason it's unique is because of a culture I haven't seen too much in films. Had this movie been called My Big Fat American Wedding, I could probably care less. But how many Greek Americans do you see? I don't have the statistics, but at least from experience, they're probably among the less noticed ethnic communities. Unless you go to Chicago, Illinois, where the film takes place.
It stars, and was written by, Nia Vardalos. She plays Toula Portokalos, a woman who is 30 years old but, unlike all of her sisters, is not married yet. This is a shock, because Greek culture dictates that Greek women have three purposes in life: marry Greek boys, make Greek babies, and feed the family for life. This family is so proud of Greek achievements, including astronomy and the Olympics, that everyone else should be Greek. In fact, Toula's father has the annoying habit of pointing out the Greek origins of every word in the English language. With all of this, you can tell that Toula is pretty unhappy.
She works as a seating hostess at the family restaurant called Dancing Zorba's. One day, a handsome man named Ian Miller, played by John Corbett, comes into the restaurant. They don't really talk at that moment, but Toula does make some changes to her life. She enrolls in a local college to study computers, gives herself a makeover, and changes jobs to work at the Mount Olympus Travel Agency, another family business. And then Ian comes by again. And they talk.
From there, the romance goes by very quickly. They go on a few dates, deal with the culture clashes brought upon them by their families, and agree to get married. This is the predictable part of the movie, so much that there's no need to accuse me of spoiling the movie if I happen to reveal what occurs later. Otherwise, the cultural contrast is rather humorous. Ian has two parents who live quiet lives while Toula has a family of nearly 20 people who have large dinners and roast a dead lamb in front of the house, which by the way is a conspicuous house modeled after the Parthenon.
So in the end, I liked the movie enough. Again, it's so predictable, but the depiction of Greek culture in a funny and also sensitive way makes it work. It's enough to bring Nia Vardalos to the spotlight. She has enough talent as an actress and as a screenwriter that she could definitely find more opportunities to work in films. Overall, you will like My Big Fat Greek Wedding if you are Greek, love romantic comedies, or can easily relate to a character driven crazy by a big fat family.
For more information about My Big Fat Greek Wedding, visit the Internet Movie Database.