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My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 (A Movie Review)

Updated: Sep 7, 2023


Starring Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Louis Mandylor, Elena Kampouris, Gia Carides, Joey Fatone, Lainie Kazan, Andrea Martin, Maria Vacratsis, Elias Kacavas, Gerry Mendicino, Melina Kotselou, Elias Kacavas, Alexis Georgoulis, Stephanie Nur, Giannis Vasilottos, Anthi Andreopoulou, Ektoras Kaloudis, Dimos Filippas, Stavroula Logothettis and Peter Tharos.

Screenplay by Nia Vardalos.

Directed by Nia Vardalos.

Distributed by Focus Features. 92 minutes. Rated PG-13.

Character actress Nia Vardalos sort of hit the lottery 21 years ago when her screenplay My Big Fat Greek Wedding – based on her large eccentric Greek family – caught the attention of producers Tom Hanks, his wife Rita Wilson and Gary Goetzman who agreed to fund her passion project. (Obviously you know who Hanks and wife Wilson are. And the film Licorice Pizza was loosely based on Goetzman’s young life.)

A sweet, goofy wedding comedy that was made on a shoestring budget of about $5 million, My Big Fat Greek Wedding became a surprise hit, taking in over $367 million.

Honestly, I didn’t see it in the cinema when it was out but was looking forward to reviewing it when it came out on DVD. Truthfully, I thought it was okay, but I was a little underwhelmed. It felt like a much less interesting take of a different family-based ethnic love story, Moonstruck. Eventually it became a bit obsessive about the wedding itself, which is always much more interesting to people getting married than the people surrounding them. I thought it was kind of cute but ultimately very forgettable. However, I do realize that I was in the minority because the film did surprisingly well and became a cult favorite.

And Vardalos has pretty much been living off it ever since.

This new film is Vardalos’ fourth return to the Big Fat Greek well, following a short-lived 2003 sitcom My Big Fat Greek Life and the 2016 sequel My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. Well actually, it’s the fifth return, if you count Vardalos’ 2009 comedy My Life in Ruins, which has an extremely similar story to My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3, about a Greek American who returns to the homeland to try to find the meaning of her life. That one is just about similar characters with different names.

Honestly, since the first film none of the others has done particularly well. And, frankly, most people have pretty much forgotten the first film more than two decades on. So, is anyone really waiting for My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 all these years later?

I kind of doubt it. At least I hope not, because they will be disappointed. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 is even much worse than the original film. (I have to admit, I never saw the second film, so I can’t really comment on that one.)

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 careens all over the place tonally, bouncing from silly comedy to wildly celebratory parties, from cliched romantic beats to not-so-dramatic life crises, from maudlin pathos to wacky family and neighbors. And I still don’t get the damned Windex references.

No one in the world – no matter how eccentric and how Greek they may be – is as over the top as nearly every single character in this film. I mean these people are bouncing off the ceilings, constantly in a state of wild emotional highs and lows.

However, Wedding 3 takes Toula (played by Vardalos, who wrote the screenplay and also directed) and her wacky family to Greece for a family reunion and also to deliver the diary of her late father (who was played in the other two films by Michael Constantine, who died in 2021) to his three childhood best friends.

Therefore Toula and her husband (John Corbett), decide to go, taking her now-college-aged daughter (Elena Kampouris) who is hiding the fact that she may be flunking out… yawn. Her grooming-obsessed brother (Louis Mandylor) and crazy aunts (Andrea Martin and Gia Carides), some cousins and probably a few other family members who I can’t even make myself remember, also come along for the ride.

However, her mom, played by the always delightful Lainie Kazan, barely makes an appearance here – and when she finally appears, it is done by Facetime – and then the screenplay drops yet a bit more unnecessary pathos on the storyline by suggesting that she may be suffering from dementia.

Once in Greece, they meet eccentric townspeople, distant relatives and uncover some “shocking” secrets of their dad’s life. But they can’t find the three friends, so Toula starts to melt down about letting her dad down. Eventually, they are found surprisingly easily. Toula goes on and on about how great it is that she found her dad’s three friends – but honestly her husband and her cousins really were the ones who found them. And even they basically just stumbled upon them.

Cue much celebration and yet another over-the-top Greek party scene.

None of the dramatic reveals is particularly gripping, and much of the comedy falls way flat. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 is loud and makes lots of big gestures, but mostly it doesn’t have all that much to say.

That said, Greece looks stunning. If nothing else, you can spend your time checking out the scenery.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2023 All rights reserved. Posted: September 7, 2023.


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