John Corbett and Nia Vardalos in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding is quite simply the most charming movie I have seen in a very long time. It is humorous. It is romantic. It is heartfelt. I laughed. I smiled. I felt good.
This is the story of Toula. She is a thirty year old virgin who still lives with her parents. She wears big obnoxious glasses and has no life. She is an ugly duckling. But like all ugly ducklings, Toula decides to spread her wings. She trades in her glasses for contacts. She attends college against her traditional fathers wishes. Most importantly, she falls in love and decides to get married.
The rest of the film is about all of the humor in preparing for the wedding. Toula's father raised her with the knowledge that her duty was to marry a Greek man and have Greek children. Her fiancée is not Greek. At the engagement party one of Toula's Aunts asks the couple over for dinner. Once Toula explains that he is a vegetarian the Aunt, in horror, exclaims. "What do you mean he don't eat meat?" Which results in quieting the room full of gabby relatives. "Oh well." the Aunt continues "I'll just make lamb then."
This movie will have you laughing. Whether it's her fiancée getting his ass kicked by an old lady or its her grandmother escaping the house thinking she's still in Greece fighting the Turks.
This movie will move you. From the joyous love story, to the father of the bride delivery a very nice toast at the wedding. This movie will move you to very happy emotional places.
I cannot say enough good things about this movie. It is not star filled, but you will recognize some familiar faces. I recognized John Corbett from Northern Exposure/Sex and the City and Joey Fatone of NSYNC. This is a movie built on witty dialogue and characters, not star power. This all proves a point I once made when I wrote that movie stars do not make a movie great. Great writing however, does, and this movie has great writing in spades.
Nia Vardalos in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
I thoroughly enjoyed My Big Fat Greek wedding. As Eric said it is funny and charming. The story is easy to fall into and the characters are vivid. You definitely leave the theater with a smile and a warm fuzzy glow. In spirit it is similar to the movie Soulfood from a few years back. You know how it will end but the ride is so damn pleasant that it doesn't matter.
Another movie that it reminds me of is Hairspray. They are both movies about traditionally unattractive females who live out their fantasy's. In Hairspray the overweight girl from the wrong side of the tracks becomes queen of the record hop and lands the most popular guy. In My Big Fat Greek Wedding the old maid daughter of a very Greek family goes to college and lands the perfect waspy guy.
Many of the characters in this movie are complete stereotypes. The proud, stubborn Greek father who spends most of his time preaching about the great Greek heritage. The tiny wizened old grandmother who dresses only in black and runs around acting completely crazy. The loudmouth gum-chewing cousin with the tacky clothes and hair. Interestingly though it is the groom and his ultra-white parents that are the most one dimensional. The groom is simply there to represent the perfect man. He is handsome, sensitive and completely understanding. His parents are stiff, conservative and boring. Many laughs come from their discomfort at being around her family. And though The Portokalos family is allowed warmth and a genuine emotion the groom and his parents are never really developed as people.
The really great thing, however, is that none of that makes a difference in the entertainment level of the movie. It is such a lighthearted feel-good story with enough laughs that it easily overcomes what could have been a major flaw.
Nia Vardalos and John Corbett in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Somehow I never got around to seeing My Big Fat Greek Wedding in the theater. Which is a surprise in itself since it came out in the spring and stayed in theaters until late into the Fall. Maybe I delayed seeing it from fear that it would never live up to the hype, but as I discovered finally when I got around to watching it on DVD, that fear was entirely groundless.
Both Eric and Patrick make the point that is a feel-good movie and I couldn't agree more. If you don't get a warm rush of heart felt joy from watching this movie than you are truly dead inside.
Which leads me to think about how so often there are 'Art Movies' and there are popular movies and whenever an 'Art Movie' does poorly at the Box Office you hear things like 'it was over the head of the masses.' The implication is that if a movie is too popular, it is fluff. Well I say that Entertaining is an Art Form and it takes work. If it was so easy to churn out quality, popular entertainment, than it would happen more often. By that definition then My Big Fat Greek Wedding, one of the most popular movies of the past year, is a work of art.
Photos © Copyright IFC Films (2002)