My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 – 2.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

my big fat greek wedding 2My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 – 2.5/5 – Sequels; they are always going to be compared to the original.  When it comes to these kinds of films; there is this tough task to providing something new and unique.  The tale is to create something for the audience where they see the same characters’ progress.  Putting characterization aside; you have to create a world comparable to the first without providing something that will constantly be compared.  A sequel should be a part of the ongoing story, but also stand out on its own.  My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 has the core nature of the characters intact, but with so much going on it becomes a jumble mess. It does some good things; but just falls flat in the end.

Premise:  We return back to the Portokalos family, as a little family secret leads to another Big Fat Greek Wedding.

The returning cast from the original movie is all back.  If you want to check out the list of actors and actresses, you can refer to the IMDB page.  The overall perception is that you feel as if you never left their lives.  From the start of the film; the one positive is that you feel the individualism of each person when it comes to the family dynamic.  You feel something within their lives as it pertains to the whole nature of what makes them an odd group of characters.   From the ‘mother/daughter’ dynamic of Toula and Paris to the ongoing family banter that happens between the siblings; you feel the authenticity of what makes them Greek.  The one thing that does stand out (more so then the first film) is that there is more prominence of the ‘side’ family characters.  With this and the ‘colorful’ banter that happens, it does bring the overall enjoyment down a bit.  With so many people taking on more of prominent role, there is no real characterization that comes with the nature of moving through a sequel.  Everyone just begins to unfold within a caricature like fashion, become cartoonish within the aspect of the colorful family antics that played well in the first film.  Even when there is an ‘over-the-top’ sensation, you still feel the core within the moments that seem good (when they happen).

The direction of this film is just a jumbled mess.  From start to finish; there is no real connective thread from scene to scene that brings any of the story elements together.  You notice that there is no real ‘main’ plot; just a mixture of things just ‘happening’ throughout.  What the director does is provide no real building block for the core aspect to tie any of the emotional situations with the comical scenes that are meant to flow seamlessly.  As mentioned above; a lot of the side characters come to the forefront.  Since this happens (from the start); you never really get a sense of the film’s true purpose, themes or tone.  The film plays out as basic as outlining a rough draft.  You have:

First Act: A rehashing of the first film.  Reintroduction to all the characters, new plot points and the overall progress of where, what and why things are happening in the family.

Second Act: Paralleling stories of the ‘mother/daughter’ relationship, the ‘new’ wedding and extra side stories within the family.

Third Act: A climax of predictability within a good look of ‘new’ and ‘old’ love; a montage of ‘conclusion’ to the many plot points and the ‘cheesy’ family epilogue.

There is nothing in this film’s overall journey that goes beyond this basic outline.  What this sequel becomes is a ‘homage’ to the first throughout most of the film’s running time.  It plays the ‘do you remember this’ gag over and over to the point that you become numb to what is really going on.  Once the film decides to bring you to the present storylines, there is no real connection into why you should even pay attention to the characters’ issues.  There are major and minor conflicts happening throughout, but they just fall in the background because of the cheesy one-liners; over-the-top sequences and the ongoing rehashing of predictable moments that happen from the first film.  On top of these mundane antics, the overall entertainment gets dragged down with the forcing of the side stories.  This creates contrite within the direction.  The audience has a feeling of not knowing where things are meant to start or end.  This lacking of meaningful themes or tone creates a lack of any ‘heart’ (which made the first experience grand).  This creates a situation where for most of the film, the family becomes unwatchable.   As the story prods along its waning path; it eventually begins to turn in an upswing.  This jump begins when we get to the ‘wedding’ aspect in the third act.  This brings the family back to a general focal point, creating situations and scenes that feel more heartfelt than just predictable ‘homage’ quips.  You start to see layering of truth to a personal note, knowing there are real flaws in the family beyond the typical relationships.  This is when you start to ‘feel’ the heart of the film.  You see that connection that’s created within the idea of ‘family’; seeing what it means to have love through the years.  Once we hit the climax, it does present that ‘cliché’ wedding mantra that you can find any other kind of romantic styled film.  You have the dramatic tension, comical conflict and love-esque montage.  The lasting effect this does is bring about the idea of ‘new’ and ‘old’; seeing a parallel of what makes love the connective tissue of everything.  As the story unfolds into the epilogue, it gives the audience something of a ‘high’ feeling to end with; bringing back what made the first film an amazing simple tale.

The visuals of the film are generalized as normal.  You get to see the aspect of this family’s life in the city of Chicago.  There is nothing but the ‘backdrop’ of everyday life.   Basically, the visuals do nothing to help or hinder the film.  The score is somewhat enjoyable throughout the film.  Playing instrumentals that gravitate to the idea of culture identity, it helps bring out a somewhat authentic feel.  With some modern ballads and current popular tracks, it combines to create an add dynamism to what makes this family ‘odd’.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is a film that plays the part of being an underwhelming sequel.  There is so much that just feels like ‘Been there/done that’, but the added dynamic of some of the new situations for the characters’ help create some touching moments.  I would only recommend this film to fans of the first one.  Even if you’re not a fan, there is something here that might remind you of the ‘odd’ family you have.  In the end, I can only say this is worth a rental.

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