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My Big Fat Greek Wedding Movie Review (8/10)

Posted on March 25th, 2003 filed in Movie Reviews    |   

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Toula Portokalos (played by Nia Vardalos) is a Greek, thirty year old, single woman, who is miserably limited by the traditions and expectations of her old fashioned Greek parents and is constantly pressured to marry a nice Greek boy. She lives at home and works as a waitress at the ‘Dancing Zorba’s’, her family’s Greek restaurant. After much convincing, she starts working at her aunt’s travel agency where she meets the nice, tall, and handsome Ian Miller (played by John Corbett)- the American boy. After having a secret relationship with Ian, which allowed Toula to blossom and come out of her protective shell, she must now face up to the entire family and announce her engagement to the Non-Greek boyfriend…and even if they do finally accept him, will he survive the big Greek wedding?


This romantic comedy, which tackles the Greek traditions in an American surrounding and gives a comical portrayal of inter-ethnic marriages, is based on Nia Vardolas’s one-woman stage performance, which in itself is inspired by her own upbringing within a Greek family in Manitoba, Canada.

Anybody who is of Greek or Mediterranean descendant will vouch to the many truths in this movie, specially the part where the parents’ main concern and even obsession is marrying their daughters to somebody of the same ethnic background, having lots of babies and feeding everybody else along the way. And although, it may seem exaggerated, marriages in Greece and the surrounding countries do involve the entire family, as they consider that not only two people but two families are getting married.

This movie makes a comical satire of all these traditions in a classy and genuine matter, it gives us a flare of the kindness of Greek people and you will leave the movie wanting to eat Greek, drink Moussaka and crash some plates.

The cast of the movie is ideal and so credible. Nia Vardalos is perfect for her role. Not only does she feel the script since she wrote it, not only is she Greek to the bone, but she does not have the glamorous Hollywood look; she is the modest, average looking girl next door, even after her make over, which made the audience genuinely connect with her. John Corbett playing Ian is very effective. He is a typical white, calm wasp, open to new ideas and cultures. However, the chemistry between Toula and Ian is lacking, we did not see the development of this supposedly great love but nevertheless, the love story is not the highlight of the movie.

The senile Grandmother, who is always dressed in black, and doesn’t speak a word of English is an excellent addition to the cast. Other than the comical aspect of this character (she is hilarious), it also illustrates how, among these ethnicities, grandparents remain with their children in their old age. Many scenes in this movie are unforgettably funny like the Baptism of Ian in a plastic pool, or the father’s belief that Windex Detergent will cure all illnesses.

In short, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, is a family comedy suitable for all ages. It is pure entertainment and is highly recommended.

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