MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 3 review by Mark Walters – the family is back and bigger than ever

MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 3 review by Mark Walters – the family is back and bigger than ever

MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING became a surprise hit in 2002, a romantic comedy that leans heavily on Greek culture, written by the smart and funny Nia Vardalos. It spawned a rather forgetting sitcom that didn’t last long, and a theatrical sequel in 2016’s MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2… but nothing seemed to capture the magic of the original, or the charm and humor. Now the family is back, this time taking their antics to the homeland of their people.

Toula (Vardalos) and Ian (John Corbett) are living happily, though Toula’s family is dealing with the loss of her beloved father and their mother Maria (Lainie Kazan) losing her memory. Nick wants to honor Maria’s husband by taking his ashes to Greece and spreading them under a tree he used to play by as a boy, whereas Toula just wants to see if she can find her father’s childhood friends, which sets the mission for a reunion in the old village. This leads to a family taking trip to Greece. Coming along with Ian and Toula and her brother Nick (Louis Mandylor) are aunts Voula (Andrea Martin) and Frieda (Maria Vacratsis), Toula and Ian’s daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris), and Paris’ ex Aristotle (Elias Kacavas). Upon arriving in the old village, they are met by the young and hip “Mayor” named Victory (Melina Kotselou), and a rather grumpy older woman who seems to have a connection with Toula’s dad. They also meet a local couple who are wanting to marry, but the traditions don’t like their mixing cultures of Greek and Syrian background. Toula also discovers she has a brother she’s never met who was hidden from her all her life. But oddly, the rest of the village seems rather empty, as if everyone moved away. The trip becomes an eye-opening look at family, tradition, and love in one of the world’s most beautiful locations.

MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2 was a fairly lackluster and forgettable follow-up to a strong concept, and thankfully the third installment manages to course correct things a bit, getting back to the spirit and humor the first one did so well. This new movie seems to get what made that initial outing so satisfying, and works really hard to make this new film a fun ride. That said, there’s still not much of an actual story here, rather a collection of moments building up to a wedding that this time feels more obligatory than important, considering it’s a union between two new character barely connected to our originals.

There are plenty of funny and engaging moments in this sequel, and some of the humor lands quite well even within the sometimes predictable romantic comedy execution. This movie pushes things more in the director of the new characters, particularly the younger actors in the film. You can tell they really want us to invest feelings toward Paris and Aristotle as a potential young couple, but neither of those characters are terribly interesting, just like the new characters who ultimately become the focus of the film’s title wedding, who by the end of the story we barely know anything about. The character of Victory (played by Melina Kotselou) is interesting, a non-binary modernized party type who oddly became Mayor of the small older Greek village, though they seem to be lacking any solid motivation or back story that could have elevated their involvement and made them feel more important instead of just a comedic side role. The most interesting of the new characters is Toula’s secret brother Peter (played by Alexis Georgoulis), but the script barely allows him any time with Toula, rather pairs him with Nick for most of their respective scenes. And what surprised me most is how little the two main characters of Toula and Ian are used in the story, sometimes long stretches where neither of them are on screen.

To me, there’s a more interesting and meaningful story that’s missed here. The set up is all there for something bigger – Toula’s mother losing her memory and the importance of remembering their culture, which is barely touched on… and one potential take that could have been very interesting is taking these very exaggerated Greek characters living in America, and showing them returning to Greece and realizing how much of their culture they’ve left behind or just forgot about. But instead the film just goes for the basic and expected beats, never feels like it’s doing anything daring or new. It’s absolutely an improvement over the second movie, but still a far cry from the greatness of the first. It’s fun to revisit these characters a bit, and see how some of the magic still works every now and then, but I feel like they’ve said pretty much all they can by now.

MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 3 opens September 8, 2023

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About the Author

Born and raised in Dallas, Mark has been a movie critic since 1994, with reviews featured in print, radio and National TV. In 2001 he started the Entertainment section of the Herorealm website, where he contributed film reviews and celebrity interviews until 2004. After three years of service there, he started, which has become one of the Dallas film community's leading information websites. Bigfanboy hosts several movie screenings in the Texas area, and works closely with film and TV studios and promotional partners to host exciting events and contests. The site also features a variety of rare celebrity and filmmaker interviews, and regularly covers the film festival circuit as well. In addition to Hollywood reporting, Mark has worked for many years as an advertising and sci-fi/comic book artist. Clients have included Lucasfilm Ltd., Topps Trading Cards, The Dallas Mavericks and The Dallas Stars. From 2002 until 2015 he managed the Dallas Comic Con, Sci-Fi Expo and Fan Days events in the DFW area. He currently catalogs rare comic books and movie memorabilia for Heritage Auctions, and runs the Dallas Comic Show conventions, but remains an avid moviegoer and cinema buff.