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My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3
Review by Rich Cline |
dir-scr Nia Vardalos
prd Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman
with Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Louis Mandylor, Elena Kampouris, Lainie Kazan, Andrea Martin, Maria Vacratsis, Gia Carides, Joey Fatone, Elias Kacavas, Melina Kotselou, Anthi Andreopoulou, Alexis Georgoulis, Stephanie Nur, Giannis Vasilottos
release US/UK 8.Sep.23
23/US Universal 1h31
Is it streaming?
Seven years later, actor, writer and now director Nia Vardalos is back with her boisterous on-screen family for another gently wacky adventure, this time travelling back to the homeland. The writing is uncomplicated, creating warm and silly situations without much set-up or pay-off, but it's easy to watch and sometimes even funny. So even if nothing happens that's unexpected, there's a mild ripple of current affairs around the edge of the narrative.
Heading to their ancestral village on a Greek Island, Toula (Vardalos) corrals her lively family onto the plane: long-suffering husband Ian (Corbett), university student daughter Paris (Kamporis), Toula's hyper-Greek brother Nick (Mandylor), and meddling aunties Frieda (Vacratsis) and Voula (Martin), who invites Paris' ex Aristotle (Kacavas) plotting to get them together. On arrival, they find the village nearly abandoned, but young mayor Victory (Kotselou) and the wizened Alexandra (Andreopoulou) make them feel welcome. They also soon discover relatives they never knew about, then participate in a wedding between two of them, among other adventures.
Of the various plot threads, the only one that has emotional resonance is Nick's secret mission to scatter their father's ashes near his favourite tree, if he can find it. Otherwise, Toula is looking for her dad's childhood friends with the help of two cousins (Carides and Fatone), while Paris is avoiding Aristotle while keeping a secret from her parents. Equally under-developed but more engaging is the Syrian refugee (Nur) who has become Alexandra's carer and is in love with her grandson (Vasilottos).
Performances coast along amiably, as cast members tend to rely on their charms without challenging themselves or the audience. Vardalos and Corbett create some nice but resolutely low-key chemistry as a middle-aged couple finding romance where they can. Meanwhile, Vardalos is also still diving into her physical slapstick antics with gusto. Kamporis and Kacavas are never allowed to generate much spark. So the film is stolen once again by Martin's expert comical timing and the superb Andreopoulou's ubiquitous scowling.
The point is repeatedly made that no one from this family has ever returned to Greece before, and it's never explained why that might be. Like pretty much every other oddly undercooked point in the script, this is accepted without question. Instead, the focus is on warm and happy emotions, screwball goofiness and just a whiff of underlying topicality relating to the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean. Nothing about this film pushes a boundary, but it's amusing enough to keep us smiling for 91 minutes.
R E A D E R R E V I E W SStill waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.
© 2023 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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