My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Nia Vardalos
  • Director: Kirk Jones
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: June 21, 2016
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2018 

        My Big Fat Greek Wedding is the cinematic equivalent of a one-hit wonder, making an absurd amount of money for a film that cost next to nothing. It also made the career of Nia Vardalos, who has leeched off of this singular success ever since. While occasionally leaning on the this first independent film to get additional projects, primarily from those whose pockets were lined by the first film, Vardalos has mostly vanished from the spotlight in the fourteen years since its release. Audiences didn’t want more of the Portokalos family even a year after the initial release, with a sitcom continuation starring many of the amateur actors failing miserably after only a handful of episodes, so the theatrical sequel My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 reeks of desperation and a last-ditch effort to bleed the franchise dry.

        In many ways, this sequel feels like a return to the world of sitcom, containing a flimsy premise and a number of silly subplots. The predictable gags are never clever, and the acting from these inexperienced performers has somehow gotten worse more than a decade later. This may be expected from the extended family members, who all seem to find themselves funnier than any audience likely will, but it is Vardalos who comes off the most amateurish. I suppose the danger of being the producer and star is that nobody will tell you when you are doing an awful job. Any novelty of the Greek culture on display has long dissipated, leaving only illogical narratives and unbelievable caricatures.

        Despite all the frustration Toula (Vardalos) had with her family in the first film, next to nothing has changed. She now works full time at the family restaurant and spends even more time with her family, which lives next door to her. Although she escaped their judgment when deciding to marry a man that wasn’t Greek (John Corbett), Toula fell right into the same patterns as her family when it came to raising her daughter, Paris (Elena Kampouris). Paris predictably wants to escape her big fat Greek family, which annoys Toula despite the fact that she still acts annoyed by the family she resembles. It is an incoherent and illogical setup which tries to create new storylines while clinging desperately to the elements which made the first film a surprise success.

        There are plenty of silly little side stories, none of which are developed beyond predictable gags and saccharine sitcom resolution. Toula and her husband try and reconnect, one of her brothers (or cousins; does it really matter which?) hides a secret about his sexuality from the family, patriarch Gus (Michael Constantine) attempts to prove he is a descendant of Alexander the Great, and everyone pushes for 17-year-old Paris (no, the math on her age does not add up) to find a Greek boy to marry. Cultural pride borders on prejudice against others, but it is all done whimsically enough that we are meant to laugh rather than question bigotry. All of these are just the side dishes, however, with the primary narrative involving a second wedding between Gus and Maria (Lainie Kazan) when it turns out their marriage certificate was never signed.

        This has been done before, and done better. At least the first film had the unique element of being a film about a culture not commonly displayed in cinema, but this sequel literally has nothing going for it. Bad melodrama mixes with hokey humor and sappy sentimentality, and it all feels one step away from being a parody of the original film. Unfortunately, they are not making fun of the first movie, but shamelessly sucking the life out of anything that once worked. All joy from the original has been beaten to death by the desperation of this sequel, which never should have gotten a theatrical release.

        The Blu-ray release comes with three ways to view the unfortunate film, with a DVD and Digital copy to go with the high definition disc. The special features include a making-of featurette, as well as a second featurette with more discussion of the exact same things in the first (as well as discussion of a third film, God help us), and a gag reel to show how amused the cast was with themselves even in failure.

Entertainment Value: 4/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 3/10
Historical Significance:  1/10
Special Features: 4/10

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