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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> December 2002 >> My Big Fat Greek Wedding

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
3 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
December 2002
IMDB Name:
My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
Joel Zwick
comedy, romance
MPAA Rating:
PG for sensuality and language.

Single Minded

Nia Vardalos originally wrote My Big Fat Greek Wedding as a one-woman play. I'm sure this material is excellent in that form, and would probably have been fun just as a Spalding Gray-style monologue film like Monster in a Box. That's not the approach chosen, and that's not such a bad thing. This is a very pleasant romantic comedy with charismatic leads, nice family interaction, and some big laughs. Michael Constantine and Lainie Kazan are both excellent as the bride's parents, and they provide some of the kindest-hearted laughs. Vardalos undergoes a nice mouse/fox transformation and has a terrific smile.

In adapting the play for the screen, though, a lot of the single-minded focus remains. What's missing is any hint that the characters of Ian and his parents exist outside Toula's mind. Fiona Reid and Bruce Gray are on screen primarily to overreact to every facet of the Portokalos family. These are yuppies who have decades of experience with the protocol of making other people feel small, but all they can do is stare on in horror? Even if they weren't snobs, I'd like to see them take something in stride. More frustrating is that Ian blends so easily into the Portokalos family while offering not a single tip to his parents that might save them oodles of embarrassment. Of course, since this is Ian written by Toula, he's the ultimate doting fiance, and his parents are forgotten any time he's in her presence. With this in mind, I'm not surprised that John Corbett is a hair on the bland side here. I'm sure the Hollywood record on accurate portrayal of Greeks and Greek-Americans through the years is awful, but is this turning of the tables really the best way to undo that?

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Copyright 2002-2003 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.