My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2: Worth the Wait

It doesn’t typically take fourteen years for a sequel to be released (just look at the one-two punch of Charlie’s Angels in 2000, followed by Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle in 2003). But, in My Big Fat Greek Wedding‘s case, it seems strange that writer/actress Nia Vardalos would wait so long to write the screenplay for the second film, especially when considering that so much of what she did subsequently was tied to a similar narrative (e.g. My Big Fat Greek Life and My Life in Ruins). Perhaps enough time needed to pass for an appropriate source of conflict to arise through the overbearingness of Toula Portakalos Miller’s (Vardalos) family.

In My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, that source of conflict derives from Toula’s seventeen-year-old daughter, Paris (Elena Kampouris)–a somewhat sacrilegious name for a Greek–feeling constantly oppressed by the over involvement of everyone in her family, including Toula. To make matters worse, Ian (John Corbett), is the principal at her school, which compounds the helicopter parent vibe. Toula can’t seem to reach Paris anymore without coming across as annoying or meddling to her, a fact that drives her further into the melodramas of her parents, Maria (Lainie Kazan) and Gus (Michael Constantine), in spite of how much she doesn’t want to become any more entangled in their affairs.

Alas, when Gus goes on a tangent about proving he is, indeed, related to Alexander the Great, through findyourancestry.com, he unearths his marriage certificate, only to find that it was never validated by the priest. This revelation terrifies him, for he fears what he presumes will be Maria’s invariably volatile reaction. Upon confessing the truth to her in front of the rest of the family (because that’s what Greeks do, share every experience together), Maria is surprisingly nonplussed, suddenly seeing their “living in sin” together for over fifty years as an opportunity to trap Gus into finally proposing properly. Shocked by Maria’s confession about how she has really felt about the way he asked her (which was essentially, “I’m going to America. Come or don’t.”), Gus refuses to play into what he feels is her overly dramatic wish, prompting an instant rift between him and Maria.

Toula is, of course, sucked in to the dispute, much to the vexation of Ian, who already feels she gives enough of herself to the family. Meanwhile, Paris’ desire to go to college in New York–far enough away from Chicago and her parents to be able to breathe–is a mutual concern that Toula and Ian can bond over during one of their date nights together (for which Toula’s Aunt Voula [Andrea Martin] tells her to “shave everything”).

As everything in the Portakalos family feels like it is shifting at a rapidly alarming rate, it seems as though the nuptials of Maria and Gus could be one of the only things to reconnect everyone again. And, of course, Mana-Yiayia (Bess Meisler) is enough entertainment to capture your heart in every scene she appears in. In fact, she alone is what has made My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 very well worth the wait. Oh yeah, and Joey Fatone.