On the subject of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, let’s start with this: Nia Vardalos’ follow-up to her word-of-mouth hit from long, long ago – 2002! – is a lot more enjoyable than the recent Zoolander 2 (15 years after the original) or Netflix’s Fuller House (slightly more than two decades). Sequels and reboots are often like old friends who turn up hinting that they’ve been cosmetically “freshened” and looking instead as if they’ve had a complete body lift, internal organs included.
Wedding 2 has no pretentions that way. The hair, the makeup, the jokes have barely changed. It’s like the first film, corny and broad but sweet. It’s kind.
Toula (Vardalos) is still coping with her lovably boisterous Greek family, but now she has a teenage daughter (Elena Kampouris) who’s allergic to all that oversharing and overcaring. Toula’s major crisis this time, however, is that her old parents, Maria and Gus (Lainie Kazan and Michael Constantine), discover that they were never legally married. By the end, of course, there’s the promised wedding and chocolate baklava.
Who needs Greek tragedy right now? Would you choose Sophocles over chocolate baklava?
Wedding 2 if anything, is marginally better than the original, if only because it’s less indebted to Cher’s Moonstruck (1987) and because you don’t have to wonder about the budding romantic relationship between Vardalos and John Corbett, him with the longish, misted-looking hair. Here they’re a nice, married couple – fine.
Wedding 2 also offers more screen time to Andrea Martin as Aunt Voula, a woman of irrepressible opinions and questionable taste on most questions of life and love. In a cast in which no one seems to have ever been discouraged from going big, Martin arguably goes bigger and biggest, but she keeps the outlines of her performance vividly sharp and clear. She’s more cartoonish, more theatrical, but also more alive.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, opening Friday. PG-13.