My Big Fat Greek Wedding first hit theaters in 2002. Now, fourteen years later (opening March 25), we have finally been given a sequel that was more than worth the wait. Fans of the first movie will absolutely love the sequel that revives enough of the old jokes to give it a nostalgic feel, but supplies enough fresh material to make it original. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is a heartwarming, hilarious film that made me laugh until my side hurt, but also pause and reflect on my own family life. In this film, Toula (Nia Vardalos) and Ian’s (John Corbett) grown up daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris) is struggling with a very important life decision: where to go to college. The Portokalos family’s usual crazy antics keep the audience laughing, but I think that Paris’ struggle will resonate with high school and college students. Being a college student who moved halfway across the country and away from my family for school, I very much understood what Paris was going through. Throughout the film she is pulled in two different directions, wanting to move away and be an independent woman but also wanting to please her family and stay close to home.
Having said that, I feel that this movie will also resonate with married couples. The movie places a lot of emphasis on the sacredness of marriage. Gus Portokalos, Toula’s father, describes marriage in this way, “You walk through life seeing your shadow as two people.” Marriage is for better and for worse which Gus and his wife Maria learn and put into practice throughout the film.
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A third group that I believe will connect with the characters in the movie are empty nesters. Every parent either has or will have to go through the loss of their child to the world as they leave for school and become more and more independent. It is no different for Toula and Ian as Paris gets ready to leave for college and they have to rediscover what their marriage means without adding a child to the equation. Aunt Voula tells Toula to remember that she was a girlfriend before she was a mother which is good advice for married couples that fall into this category and are living in a house that is empty of kids for maybe the first time in their married lives. I believe that no matter what stage of life you are in, you will be able to connect with and understand the plights of the different characters as they struggle to understand what being a family really means.
While I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and appreciated a lot of the family values, I would strongly recommend taking the PG-13 rating seriously. My two youngest sisters are 14 and 12 and I would not take either of them to see it. The humor is definitely geared more toward adults than young teenagers. Another concern that I have is how the subject of homosexuality was treated in the film. Toward the end of the movie one of the characters is revealed to be homosexual. This is a minor addition to the film and added nothing to the plot. In my opinion, the writers may have included this issue in an attempt to make sure no one is left out, or offended by its ommission.
Overall I would highly recommend this sequel. Whether you have a very large, boisterous (perhaps Greek?) family or a small, tight knit group of relatives, this film will make you appreciate the meaning of family and always being there for the people you love.
–Review by Kate Forbes, Special to Metro Voice.