Film review: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 starring John Corbett and Nia Vardalos

Twenty years after the first instalment, John Corbett and Nia Vardalos are bringing back My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3. London Mums have checked it out to reveal whether it’s worth a trip to the cinema.

‘Another sloppy helping of migrant family cliches’: John Corbett (left), Nia Vardalos (centre) and Andrea Martin (second right) star in My Big Fat Greek Wedding

The story

After travelling to Greece for a family reunion, a woman attempts to locate her deceased father’s childhood friends.

The trailer

 

The verdict

I had not seen Big Fat Greek Wedding 1 and 2 (I heard from London Mumsmagazine editor Monica Costa that the first instalment was good), but the backstory gets filled in and the game repeats so I was soon in the swing. Its aim is to celebrate – and poke gentle fun at – Greek culture, or at least the version of it which the Greek-American community chooses to showcase. I did wonder what a bona fide Greek from Greece would think of it. Crass and stereotypical maybe.

There were LOL moments, but the acting was hit and miss, with panto grans delivering the gags more or less successfully, contrasted with ham-acting from the bamboozled youth. Everything was in caricature; the passionate arguing, the suffocating wedding-crowd scenes, the cardboard ‘xenos’ (non-Greeks) who stayed mute and joyless, simply there to show off Greek society in all its marvellous emotionality.

But frankly I can’t think of anything worse than a large oppressive family making all your big decisions for you;  where to live (next door), who to marry (Greeks are best), and when you want to ‘marry out’, showing their extreme displeasure. All a bit racist, surely.

The screenplay didn’t feel very natural. It was having to compact in back story, cheesy wit and find excuses to promote Greek wisdom, civilisation etc, and the latter often came across as smug. ‘Misogynistic. That’s a Greek word.’ Or, ‘Endoscopy. That’s a Greek word.’ was heard more than once and it wasn’t especially funny the first time. If Greece is so wonderful, why are they all in the US?

One star for the music which was joyous and meaty.

And one star for the views of Greece, which did give me an urge to go back. I went to Corfu which was total bliss in the 80s, and again to the mainland on a Classical ruins tour before studying Greek A level. Mum and I were staying in one such coastal village, Larisa, borrowing an apartment owned by the family of our Greek lodger, when a group of Greek-Americans came back for a wedding. As we walked by the village cafe on an evening stroll, the after-party was in full swing and we got warmly invited to join in. I had to learn to dance in the round, shoulders locked together with my neighbours ‘Stop looking at your feet!’ they shouted. And the drinking games. A guy knelt down and I went piggyback on his shoulders. Hands-free, he picked up OFF THE FLOOR a shot glass of ouzo with  his bare teeth and drank it down without spilling it or me! Lots of uproariousness.

The Greek villagers we met were super welcoming as we were also invited in by some grannies to their homes for coffee which they simmered in small quantities of water for ages over the stove in little metal jugs until the coffee was like rocket fuel. We were also gifted the biggest juiciest tomatoes I had ever seen, home grown, and it was just a lovely warm environment. I did my best to communicate with my smaller Ancient Greek dictionary.

Possible fun material for inclusion in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 4 would be #MeTooGreece for said lodger was lecherous with everyone including me and I’m sure he can’t have been the only one. Even the Latin poet Juvenal writes of ‘locking up your daughters’ when there are Greeks about. And the driving… if the wheels don’t squeal on a roundabout, you’re not doing it properly.

Our delightful evening out was kindly sponsored by Travelzoo, a curator of best offer travel deals with four million subscribers and daily emails with their Top 10 recommendations around the world. They also promote deals on destinations linked to popular travel-themed films such as Harold Fry and now My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 and offer free cinema tickets to their members.

London Mums’ rating: 6/10

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