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Big, Noisy, Greek…and Obvious

I’m not sure anyone was waiting for, let alone demanding, a sequel to the surprise sleeper of 2002, but it’s here just the same, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 may well please its intended audience. But like many sequels, the spark of the original film can’t be reignited so easily.

Writer and star Nia Vardalos is as likable as ever. The same can be said for most of the supporting cast, but under Kirk Jones’ direction everyone mugs shamelessly, as if playing to an audience in the second balcony instead of inhabiting a giant movie screen. Subtlety has no place here.

Vardalos’ eager-to-please character is still anchored to her boisterous Greek family…but now she’s married to the high school principal (John Corbett) and the mother of a teenage girl who finds her completely embarrassing. The girl is under family pressure to stay home in Chicago for college but she wants to get away. Meanwhile, Vardalos’ father (Michael Constantine) discovers, quite by chance, that a priest never signed his marriage license, so officially he and his spouse (Lainie Kazan) aren’t legally wed. And so it goes.

Bess Meisler-Elena Kampouris-MBFGW2

Photo by George Kraychyk – Courtesy of Universal Studios

If you’re undemanding and don’t mind the visual equivalent of a relative jabbing you in the ribs on every punchline, you might enjoy yourself. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is sweet, sentimental, innocuous, and amusing at times, but the “obvious” factor colors every aspect of the film. “Opa!” indeed.

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight.

He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies.

His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia.

He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation.

He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?)

He holds court at leonardmaltin.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

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