My Big Fat Greek Wedding (PG)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner19/09/2002

Three stars out of Five
Running time: 95 mins

My Big Fat Greek Wedding - the title says it all really. Close your eyes, if you will, and imagine what you might expect from the sleeper film that has taken the US by storm.

Huge, Greek family with corpulent father, house-proud mother and dowdy daughter who can’t get a man. Throw in a dishy WASP bloke, mad old grandma, plate smashing and a lot of dancing and you’ve got the perfect Sandra Bullock summer vehicle.

And that’s exactly what the studios wanted when Tom Hanks and his Greek-American actress wife Rita Wilson decided to produce a movie version of the Nia Vardalos one-woman stage show. It was suggested that Greek didn’t go over well and that Vardalos’s pithy and affectionate screenplay should be changed to a Latino family with Ms Bullock perfect in the role.

Hanks Sticks To Guns

To their credit, Hanks and Wilson stuck to their guns, keeping Vardalos and her ethnicity in a film that is as much a triumph of the underdog and word-of-mouth as it is a box office success.

Vardalos plays Toula, a thirty year old Greek geek, waiting tables at her family restaurant and being badgered by her mother to get hitched. A quick makeover later (well, she ditches the glasses) plus a new job and she falls for handsome high school teacher Ian Miller (John Corbett in tried and tested Sex In The City mode).

Mixed Marriages

Things move quickly along until marriage hovers in the air. It’s Toula’s dream come true but how will her family react to her getting spliced to a non-Greek?

With a series of stereotypical (but forgiveable) jokes is how. Toula’s numerous cousins (all called Nick) threaten Ian’s life, her mother presses food on everyone, no-one understands that Ian is vegetarian (“that’s okay, I’ll make lamb”) and Ian is baptised (roughly) in a paddling pool.

Ultimately the in-laws must meet and so the mealy-mouthed Millers turn up at the pre-nuptial celebrations with Toula’s boisterous family for plenty fish-out-of-water gags as seen in The Birdcage.

Sugary But Satisfying

Though it’s predictable and erring on the sucrose side, My Big Fat Greek Wedding succeeds mainly through the wit and appeal of Vardalos. Her ordinary appearance makes her far more believable than any Bullock-slumming-it-in-old-cardie-to-appear-plain conceit and her comic timing is splendid.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding is not going to win any gongs for originality or deep insight, but having said that, you really can’t go wrong if you’re looking for warm-hearted belly laughs and a happy ending. And you might want to book a table at your local Mediterranean restaurant for afterwards…

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My Big Fat Greek Wedding (PG)
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Content updated: 18/10/2017 21:15

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