Check back later for review coming from contributor Mike Klamecki
|Average (somewhat offensive) — Not recommended
|• Adults • Young-Adults
|Romance Comedy Sequel
|1 hr. 31 min.
|Year of Release:
September 8, 2023 (wide release)
DVD: October 31, 2023
About ancient Athens, Greece
About ancient Greece in the Bible
What are Grecians?
What is sexual immorality?
Sexual lust outside of marriage—Why does God strongly warn us about it?
GAY—What’s wrong with being Gay? Answer —Homosexual behavior versus the Bible: Are people born Gay? Does homosexuality harm anyone? Is it anyone’s business? Are homosexual and heterosexual relationships equally valid?
What about Gays needs to change? Answer —It may not be what you think.
Nia Vardalos … Fotoula ‘Toula’ Portokalos
John Corbett … Ian Miller
Stephanie Nur … Qamar
Andrea Martin … Thiea Voula
Elena Kampouris … Paris Miller
Lainie Kazan … Maria Portokalos
Maria Vacratsis … Thiea Freida
Louis Mandylor … Nick Portokalos
Gia Carides … Nikki
Elias Kacavas … Aristotle
Joey Fatone … Angelo
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Gold Circle Films
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|Focus Features, a subsidiary of Universal Pictures, a division of NBCUniversal/Comcast
“They’re headed to the homeland”
In 2002, a hurricane in the rom-com world came ashore the domestic box office, took the country by storm and dumped $241.4 million on our shores. “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” and writer Nia Vardalos, made a deluge of cash with only a very small $5 million budget helmed by director Joel Zwick who is mostly known for directing TV sitcoms throughout the decades.
To capitalize on this success, Ms. Vardalos parlayed the Big Fat Greek-mania into a failed TV series which only lasted seven episodes before being cancelled and amounted to nothing much more than an extended drizzle. Determined to give it another go, she then created, twelve years later, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” which wasn’t nearly as good as the first and brought in only a fourth of the profits. Kirk Jones directed that one (“Waking Ned Devine,” “Nanny McPhee”) but couldn’t make it rain with any sort of strength. Now, twenty-one years later, here comes “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” which is written and directed by Nia Vardalos herself. With all the comedy quality and output being controlled through one creative source (Nia-V herself), the question is can lightning strike again and can it rain one more time?
In this film, the family has assembled again minus the friendly face of Michael Constantine who played the Windex-toting dad in all of the other iterations. Constantine died in real life at age 94 and was arguably the heart of the franchise. His absence is very much felt as the whole plot revolves around a plan to fulfill his wish to have a true family reunion in the homeland of Greece which included reuniting with three childhood friends (shown in a prominent yellowed photograph). This is explained in quick order within the first five or so minutes of the film by our re-assembled cast as they surround mother Maria (Lainie Kazan) who is slowly and knowingly descending into dementia.
Toula Portokalos (Nia Vardalos) and easy-going husband Ian (John Corbett) assemble all the familial regulars for a flight to Greece and a task to complete her father’s last wish in the small village he lived in as a boy. The plot is very slight compared to the first two films, so the script tacks on additional character arcs/challenges to almost everyone who is in and outside the family. It doesn’t really matter what these side-plots are, but just know there is one which results in, you guessed it, a Greek wedding.
Toula is very much the matriarch of the screen in this film, and the rest of the family go about with their particular personality quicks and quibbles [with special knods to Aunt Voula (Andrea Martin), Aunt Frieda (Maria Vacratsis), and brother Nick (Louis Mandylor)].
You can be assured that situations never get too heavy and challenges never get too overwhelming. As a matter of fact, it’s almost magical how coincidences happen right on time to solve whatever problems need to be solved. We even run into the “magic wizard” trope where a piece of vital information just happens to be in the custody of a weird outsider who presents it at the right time. What luck!
The writing and plot is very thin, to the point it seems like one of those campfire games where you start a story with one sentence and the other person continues it with another sentence and so-on around the circle resulting in contrivances and awkward humor. I’m not one to complain about types of humor, because what I find unfunny someone else may see as hilarious. My wife loved the first Big Fat Greek Wedding, but barely cracked a smile during this one. However, one guy was laughing regularly in the back of the theater, and I found the village goats pretty entertaining but that’s about it.
Maybe it was the haphazard scattershot editing that eliminated the humor for me, or maybe the lack of competent direction (sorry Nia), or maybe that a lot of these characters (at times) spoke and acted like they were honestly mentally deficient. I don’t know, but something was… off… in this film.
Don’t get me wrong. If you love these characters, you will have a high tolerance for the technical misses and will feel at home in their presence. For myself, however, I couldn’t overlook the very mediocre and downright bizzarre writing and direction. However, there is one scene, towards the end, that is just a fixed shot with Toula and Nick talking about their dad, and it was an amazing scene that was full of heart and depth which blew me away. It was a reminder of what this film could have been if some of the needless wackiness was eliminated and in their place have a few more good, heartfelt scenes.
The one thing that everyone will agree on is how beautiful this scenery looks. Cinematographer Barry Peterson captures the ancient beauty of Greece on, from what I’ve read, good ol’ 35mm film which translates into crisp, layered, eye-popping scenery. The set design in the village towards the end was absolutely amazing and even more so knowing it was a night shoot. I was wondering how this film could get made with a failed sequel and even worse sitcom on the books; then after viewing, I’m assuming that the Grecian Bureau of Tourism must have funded a good portion of this (just my guess). I mean, it sure made me want to go visit Greece! Also, judging from all the Greek last names in the end credits, they must have hired every last countryman in the land. Greece has had some pretty bad financial times in the last few years, so good for Ms. Vardalos and the producers for spreading the wealth.
To it’s credit, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” has less bad language than most modern rom-coms. God’s name is used in vain 3 times (one, a G*d-d**n, is heard off in the distance) and Jesus’ name 3 times. H*ll is heard once.
So why the PG-13 rating? Mostly for partial nudity played for laughs where strategically placed plants, drinks, etc. block out brother Nick’s (fill in the blank) and for a brief scene on a nude beach where nothing is shown but plenty is alluded to. There is also quite a bit of drinking with a few people being visually buzzed/drunk. There is also an androgynous woman named Victory (Melina Kotselou) who is the “mayor” of the tiny village and makes it very clear she is non-binary. It’s weird that a village (which is shown to have clear racial strife between the Greek citizens and the Syrian refugee laborers who work for them) would be so accepting of a non-binary individual being in charge of their government. That is, until you see in the very tail of the end credits that the film thanked GLADD for its… whatever they did. Even in Greece you can’t escape the Hollywood influence machine.
Of course, family is a big part of this film. Ok, family is pretty much all of this film! It highlights the importance of family, closeness, conflict resolution and working together for a common goal.
God wants to adopt you into His forever family where you are bound with God’s love through the Holy Spirit to all the believers in the world with a bond stronger than any birth certificate or last name. When God adopts you into His family it’s for good and reaches into eternity. So accept Jesus’ sacrifice today, repent of your sin, and turn to God to receive the free gift of eternal life. Join the Family, find a church with fellow believers, and get ready to be a part of a “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and God’s very own possession” (1 Peter 2:9). Amen, amen, and OOPA!
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