My Big Fat Greek Wedding Review
My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which looks to be this year's sleeper comedy hit, is a celebration of culture and tradition without the usual need for Hollywood A-list spin. It combines the amusement factor with the pressures of marriage, nationality and familial generations without actually containing much of a story, but it pleasantly throws in believable characters and funny situations to ensure that an entertaining evening can be had when watching it.
Now that she is thirty years old, Toula Portokalos (Nia Vardalos) is starting to feel over-the-hill, due mainly to the fact that she still works in her family's Greek restaurant and lacks a husband. After indulging in some computer courses to try and broaden her horizons, Toula starts to work for her Aunt's travel agency and takes a liking to schoolteacher Ian Miller (John Corbett), whom she secretly dates because he is not Greek, and her family would disapprove. However, when Ian proposes, Toula is forced to combine her worlds and let her Greek heritage take over the show if true love is to win over.
The title alone suggests a film that would appeal mostly to a female audience, but fortunately for My Big Fat Greek Wedding the film has universal appeal, primarily because it links heavily into primary themes, such as love, marriage, identity and family. It's refreshing to see a film so devoid of star power, considering that Northern Exposure's John Corbett is probably the most famous member of the cast. The film's star Nia Vardalos actually wrote the screenplay, based on her own one-person stage show, and was directed by notable television director Joel Zwick, who seems to understand the situation-comedy style of the film. Vardalos is very good understandably in the lead role, and it would be easy to predict a growing career for her. Corbett is likeable as Ian Miller, even if he is overshadowed by the many odd members of the Portokalos family, played in a comic ferociousness by Michael Constantine (Gus), Lainie Kazan (Maria), Andrea Martin (Aunt Voula) and Joey Fatone (Cousin Angelo).
Whilst never being rip-roaringly hilarious, My Big Fat Greek Wedding seems to always leave a smile firmly planted on the viewer's face. It doesn’t aim to be a comedy masterpiece, nor a true representation of Greek culture, and yet it somehow maintains integrity that most Hollywood vehicles compromise. It might have resulted in a big promotion drive for the Windex product, but somehow that only adds to its charm.