Let me begin with a bold statement folks. This film made me wish ancient Sparta had tried just a little bit harder, way back when in their battles with Greece. Yes, we would miss out on tons of potential advancements and inventions, but we also wouldn’t be subjected to My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. It’s been quite some time since I’ve disliked a comedy as much as this one, or found one as unfunny. This is almost aggressively unfunny and unpleasant to sit through, so much so that it angered me. I rarely have this sort of a reaction to a comedy, but what writer/star Nia Vardalos has cooked up here is so poorly done, it’s worthy of anger. Director Kirk Jones has made strong films before, but this borderline inept. Few movies rub me in as wrong a way as My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 did, and I’m not someone who hated the first one. Is this an unneeded sequel? Of course, but I was still ready to consider it on its own merits. The bar wouldn’t have been high for this flick to clear in order to work as mindless entertainment, but it’s just mindless drivel. I didn’t laugh once and I cringed on multiple occasions. Longtime readers of the site know how infrequently I go down to one star for a review, but My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 warrants it, in spades.
The film checks back in on the Portokalos family nearly a decade and a half after the first flick. Toula (Vardalos) and Ian (John Corbett) are a happily married couple, now with a teenaged daughter named Paris (Elena Kampouris), though they’re in a bit of a romantic rut. Family patriarch Gus (Michael Constantine) is on Paris to find a nice Greek boyfriend, that is when he’s not attempting to learn to use the computer in order to determine that his heritage traces directly back to Alexander the Great. When Gus discovers that his marriage license was never signed and legally he’s not actually married to his wife of 50 years Maria (Lainie Kazan), everyone is thrown for a loop. Initially, Gus rejects Maria’s request for him to propose again, but once he acquiesces, another big fat Greek wedding is on, obviously. If this sounds like a retread, it’s not an accident. We constantly see old jokes brought back, repeated scenes of the entire family crowding into an inappropriately small space, and so on. The one thing it isn’t is any sort of fun. For a comedy, it’s painstakingly unenjoyable and just not funny.
You would think that some low key charm and charisma would be on display here, but nope. From Nia Vardalos on down to the smallest of supporting characters, they’re all just off base, un-amusing, and frankly fairly annoying. Vardalos oddly makes herself the protagonist again, but also gives herself nothing to do, aside from the occasional bit of uninspired slapstick “comedy”. The B plot of her and John Corbett is so tacked on, it barely warrants acknowledging. The same can basically be said of Corbett, who disappears for large chunks, probably intentionally on his part. Michael Constantine and Lainie Kazan are underused, despite having ample time on the screen. They’re mostly told to just yell and wave their hands around, which is a shame. Elena Kampouris impressed me in Men, Women & Children two years ago, but she’s absolutely wasted here. Also in the cast are Joey Fatone, Andrea Martin, Rob Riggle, John Stamos, Rita Wilson, Alex Wolff, and many more, but they did nothing for me as well. It’s just a complete wash on the acting front.
I know that Kirk Jones is a skilled filmmaker, going back to the deeply underrated Everybody’s Fine, but he’s almost unforgivingly disengaged here. Jones clearly saw how bad My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 was going to be, and yet he stuck around. The script from Vardalos is so poor, it makes the work she did on the first one, as well as for Larry Crowne, seem awards worthy by comparison. There’s no sense of pacing here, no jokes that land, and not a single moment in the whole movie that’s not agonizingly telegraphed ahead of time. It was literally exhausting to sit through, and this is meant to be light entertainment. Oy.
Honestly, I could have gone on and on and been a whole lot meaner about how terrible I found My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 to be, but it’s just not worth the effort. The people behind the project never put forth a damn bit of effort, so why should I? This is the sort of needless sequel that gives tons of fuel to the “Hollywood has no original ideas left” fire, and this is opening against a massive superhero franchise film that normally would have that avenue cornered. In the end, I’ll just leave you with one last warning: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is atrocious. Don’t see it. Consider yourself warned.
–Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!