MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING (2002)
Starring Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Lainie Kazan, Michael Constantine, Gia Carides, Louis Mandylor, Andrea Martin, Joey Fatone, Gerry Mendicino, Stavroula Logothettis, Constantine Tsapralis, Jayne Eastwood and Ian Gomez.
Screenplay by Nia Vardalos.
Directed by Joel Zwick.
Distributed by Gold Circle Films. 95 minutes. Rated PG.
I have a pet theory that all that is really needed to make a popular “chick film” is to use the word “wedding” in the title. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t be made interesting for guys, too. Four Weddings & A Funeral, My Best Friend’s Wedding and even Adam Sandler’s The Wedding Singer are just a few films off the top of my head that understood that. Sadly, less so for this film.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding has its heart in the right place, but it ends up being as awkward and unwieldy as its title. While it is a perfectly nice movie, it is not as romantic, nor is it as comic as it wants to be. The romantic sparks sort of fizzle because star and writer Nia Vardalos and her waspy love interest, played by John Corbett of Sex & the City, are both charming and interesting characters separately, but they never really click together. You never really see what he sees in her other than the fact that she’s charmingly neurotic, nor do you see what she sees in him other than he’s handsome and not Greek.
Instead, the film becomes an obsessive-compulsive look at the wedding as a process, the dressing, the setting up, the fears, the bride waking up with a zit on the big morning.
Beyond being a marriage movie, this film also wants to be a look at a big, loud, quirky ethnic family unit a la Moonstruck, but unfortunately without that film’s intricacy and simmering passions. Lainie Kazan is charming, if over-the-top as usual, as the matriarch of the clan (and it’s nice to see Lainie making the leap from playing Jewish mothers to playing a Greek mother). As the father, Michael Constantine is totally chewing the scenery, sort of showing why he hasn’t really worked much since the days of Room 222. They are loud, they are boisterous, they are obsessive-compulsive about being Greek, but they aren’t really all that interesting or funny.
If you are a woman, you will probably like My Big Fat Greek Wedding. If you’re a guy, it won’t bring out the cold sweat feeling of… say… The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood… but there’s really no reason to watch this… unless you want to prove you’re sensitive to a woman. (4/02)
Copyright ©2003 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: February 22, 2003.