Of­fers dis­ap­point­ing fare

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS in New York

Ever been to a wed­ding where you don’t know any­one very well? It’s pretty deadly, no mat­ter how good the food or the band might be. Ev­ery­one’s laugh­ing re­ally hard at jokes you don’t find funny, or even un­der­stand.

On the other hand, if you know and love ev­ery­one, you’ll have fun even if the cham­pagne is flat and the canapes soggy.

And that, dear movie­goer, is about as deep as we need to go in an­a­lyz­ing My Big Fat Greek Wed­ding 2, an over­stuffed, un­der­achiev­ing se­quel that took more than a decade to come to the screen.

If you’ve been dy­ing for a re­union with those ag­gres­sively lov­able folks known as the Por­toka­los fam­ily, maybe you’ll be happy. But if you didn’t miss them that much or, maybe didn’t even know them in the first place, stay away from this wed­ding. Send a gift and call it a day.

The fact that the film took 14years to ar­rive— Ni­aVarda­los is again the star and writer — is both a bless­ing and a curse. It may have stoked huge in­ter­est — the orig­i­nal wasagi­nor­mous­sleeper hit— but it also im­plies that we’re about to see some­thing worth the wait.

In­stead, the script is a tired pas­tiche ofwhat­seem­like the same gags we heard the first time. Greek fam­i­lies are big and af­fec­tion­ate! Greek fam­i­lies get in­volved in each other’s busi­ness! Greek fam­i­lies smother you with love! And so on.

We be­gin in snowy Chicago, where Toula (Varda­los) is still mar­ried to her Waspy hunk of a hus­band, Ian (John Cor­bett, ami­able but pe­riph­eral), now the high school prin­ci­pal. Her fa­ther, Gus (Michael Con­stan­tine), is still very much the pa­tri­arch, a man who swears he’s re­lated to Alexan­der the Great and be­lieves that ev­ery word in the English lan­guage comes from Greek, even “Face­book”. The rest of the gang is back, too, in­clud­ing Lainie Kazan as Toula’s mom, Maria, and the ter­rific Andrea Martin as Aunt Voula, who still likes to talk raunchy.

But 14 years have passed; Toula and Ian are now par­ents of a high school se­nior, pretty Paris (Elena Kam­pouris), who’s aching to spread her wings.

This is a re­cur­ring prob­lem with the film, di­rected by Kirk Jones; what seemed quirky and funny in the orig­i­nal is ex­ag­ger­ated to un­funny ex­tent here. It’s as if Varda­los was try­ing to take things to a darker, more in­ter­est­ing place, but at ev­ery such turn, got scared and went for slap­stick hu­mor in­stead.

But OK, given the ti­tle, there’s got to be ... a wed­ding, right? Well, Toula’s al­ready mar­ried, and Paris is too young. And so, we have a plot de­vice whereby Gus dis­cov­ers that his orig­i­nal mar­riage li­cense from Greece was never signed.

Of course, there are a few ob­sta­cles along the way. But we all know that we’ll get our happy wed­ding, some way, some­how. And you’ll surely smile at a few­points.

It’s only when those cred­its roll that you’ll likely find your­self think­ing: 14 years, for this?

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