on July 31, 2006
Toula (Nia Vardalos) is a thirty something, single American Greek girl, and, in the eyes of her family, rapidly becoming over the hill. She herself is bored with her monotonous life, with nothing to do other than work as a waitress in her family's restaurant. One day a man walks into her restaurant and Tula's life is about to change forever. The instant attraction she feels seems to somehow give her the push she needs to climb out of her rut, and she promptly enrols on a college course, learns how to use make up and dress well and, best of all, gets a new job in her Aunts travel agency.
It is while she is working there that the stranger, Ian, reappears in her life. What follows is a heart-warming tale of two people falling in love whilst trying to overcome their differing ethnic backgrounds. Tula's family are determined she should marry a 'nice Greek boy' whilst Ian's, (John Corbett), family are very uptight, middle class and horrified by Tula's outgoing, lively, loud and, above all, large family.
The show stealer is Michael Constantine as Mr Portokalos, who believes everyone secretly wants to be Greek and whose favourite occupation is to tell people the origins of words ...of course, in his eyes they all stem from the Greek language, even kimono! His other favourite pastime is using Windex cleaner for everything from cleaning to treating wounds, and recommending the same to anyone who will listen. Constantine plays this role with real humour but also pathos.
The downside of the DVD is the complete lack of extras; it doesn't even have subtitles, which is very annoying when you're hard of hearing. That apart, this is a very funny, yet touching film, that is suitable for all the family to watch.
on July 19, 2004
My Big Fat Greek Wedding is the Greek-American take on love, work, food, drink, school, language, religion, fashion and dating among other things. As the title suggests, it features a massive cast of relatives, half of which are called "Nick".
Toula (Nia Vardalos) is a 30 year old Greek-American waitress at her parents restaurant. Her folks want her married and with children. She is shy, a little ashamed of her family, and looking for something new in her life. She lands a job at a Greek-American run travel agent and meets Ian Miller (John Corbett), a handsome, long haired guy, and a non-Greek to boot. HE'S something new! Toula falls in love with him, secretly dates him, and eventually gets proposed to by him. A clash of cultures follows as the wedding draws near!
The love element is just the icing on the cake. What this film is really about is Greek-Americans and their way of life, which may often seem strange and silly to outsiders but really is close knit, fun loving and family centred. I have some Greek friends, and though living in Australia they're slightly different here, the attitudes, the values, the oddities and the relatives are pretty similar to those shown in the film. It's not that exaggerated or played up upon, as a lot of other Hollywood films often are.
If anything, maybe it's a little downplayed. My Greek friends are a lot louder and larger than life that this cast. A little more entertaining too, actually. Maybe because of this, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" it didn't really have a big impact on me. I'd seen all these cultural elements before, so it wasn't a novelty, and since I'm not a Greek immigrant myself (or a child of), it was harder to relate to. Still, that's just me. This film is warm hearted, funny and insightful, and you can tell that everyone involved had a lot of fun recreating a Greek-American household.
If you liked this film, you may also like to see "The Wog Boy", a slightly sillier movie about the life of a workshy Greek-Australian.
on February 12, 2004
This movie is so fun and in many ways a real look at life from a Greek perspective. Funny Greek American interplay is throughout the movie. Yet anyone who is a second generation American will see the concern on the faces and in the actions of the Greek family for their daughter.
The movie is dark and drab at first, a little boring in fact, yet that sets the pace for the movie because you will see the before and after on our star.
As with many movies, the WASP family is portrayed as boring, rigid and cold. Too bad that the son does not speak up on the behalf of his family. Hey, they are descended from the American farmer, probably. They tamed this land.
However, from the Greek grandma (Ya Ya) to the insanity within the house among the children, it gives a good glimpse of Greek family life.
This is a fun, light hearted movie that has a few tugs at your heart in places. If you want a good laugh, a good time and a couple of tears, this is a movie for you. For the family too.
on June 7, 2004
I first saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding alone on the big screen. I had no idea that it would be such a hit.
Nia Vardalos does an incredible job about bringing out the humor in what it means to be a Greek American. I laughed before things were even said in the movie -- the Greek school scene, the Greek "boys" her dad wants her to marry, the brother, and the pomp & circumstance of the wedding. This is a funny movie, I think for non-Greeks, but for Greeks, it's a must. You have to see this movie. How often does anyone make a movie about Greek Americans anyway??
That being said, the dialogue could have been improved. Ian was a bit boring and flat of a character. I suppose that was the point, seeing as we were supposed to "see" Toula better. I think if Vardalos had realized what a hit she had on her hands, there would have been more polish on the movie. As it is, it is a diamond in the rough -- more or less.
on January 23, 2004
I love this movie it is the perfect date movie because even guys will laugh during it. My Big Fat Greek Wedding is the story of a woman who begins dating a man of whom her family does not approve of because he is not greek. So in order to get married they must make all sorts of changes in their lives and get her father's approvel and during the changes all sorts of accidents happened. This movie is all right for all ages as long as kissing and romance is not to "icky" of a concept for them it is full of comedy and all sorts of family friendly humor. I hope that this review has helped you in making a decision about this movie.
on April 3, 2004
This movie was very enjoyable and refreshing. I couldn't stop laughing. Some people are complaining it didn't have a plot. Stupid idiots. What are you expecting some complicated, detailed plot like Lord of the Rings? It's about a woman's life. (...) Geez. Yeah, it's aimed more at somewhat nerdy females but I know guys who enjoyed it as well. It's about time someone made a movie that portrayed women in a different light. I am tired of these pathetic comedies like American Pie in which the woman are only viewed as sex objects.
on July 19, 2004
I saw this movie with my best friend and it was awesome.
I love how Ian goes to great lengths to be accepted by Toula's family. He's someone any woman would love to have. When Toula was "frump girl" he saw past that and just saw her as she is.
Although her family can be a huge pain in the ass, they only want what's best for her. In a way,they remind me of my family.
Everyone should see this movie. It'll make you laugh and it has really sweet moments.
on January 21, 2004
Make them speak Italian, eat Italian food and own an Italian
restaurant, and drink red wine instead of ouzo and you've
got my family. My husband, whose heritage is similar to
Ian's, nearly fell out of his chair laughing when Ian told
Toula's mother he'd already eaten and she says she'll fix him
something anyway! If that's not an Italian momma, I don't
know what is.
on February 21, 2004
"My Big Fat Greek Wedding" depicts the life of a Greek-American woman in her thirties who is under enormous pressure to marry and have children by her very traditional father (Michael Constantine) who refuses to embrace modern values and accept his middle child as she is. Life is made a little easier for her by her cheerful and understanding mother, played by Lainie Kazan.
I somehow feel that Toula, played with both pathos and skillful comic timing by Nia Vardalous, who adapted her hit play for the big screen, could only be a middle child. Sandwitched between her "older, perfect sister", Athena (played by a nagging and very Type A Stavroula Logothettis) and her prankish but supportive younger brother Nick(Louis Mandylor), she starts out as an insecure girl whose notoriously ethnocentric parents send her to school with a lunchbox with the image of the Greek flag on it instead of something more trendy, make her attend Greek school when her classmates attend Brownies, and never give her a satisfactory explanation about why she is constantly on a divergent path from others. As a young adult working in her family's restaurant, she deals with constant familial discussions about her marital status as if she isn't there to listen to them, she cannot ask for her father's support of her decision to return to school with any confidence(although she gets her way gradually), and later, when she embraces John Corbett's staid, friendly, and well-mannered non-Greek Ian Miller as her suitor, her parents challenge her decision by forcing the hapless Toula to play hostess to an obnoxious parade of men of her own nationality, whom they quite unbelievably prefer as mates for their daughter.It seems that older or younger children in a family are less likely to be under that much pressure to tow the line.
Physically, it has to be noted that Nia Vardalous has dignified classic Greek features, reminiscent of the profile portraiture on Grecian urns.
In due time, we come to know Toula's large, boisterous extended family, including her Aunt Voula (Andrea Martin) who can be gauche and rather pushy,but funny, Yiayia (Bess Meisler)who is a walking example of war-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,and who clings as tenaciously to life as she does to her Greek Peasant garb, and the scene-stealing Gia Carides' big-haired, brassy, buxom,flamboyant, life-loving and gregarious drama queen, Nikki, to name a few.
The groom's parents (Bruce Grey and Fiona Reid)are rather overwhelmed by the bride's family and their customs,but gradually come to embrace them, and Toula grows into someone who accepts her family and develops a more mature understanding of herself and appreciation for her heritage.
While this film should be viewed with a grain of salt and not be taken as a definitive portrayal of Greek family life, it has an enjoyable livliness to it, enhanced by kicky bouzouki music, and because family eccentricties are often great onscreen fodder, it has been, quite understandably, a great success. Adiya, everybody!
on November 12, 2003
If you listen to the hype, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" is one of the best romantic comedies of all time, and is ground-breaking and amazing film-making. Which is, perhaps ironically, building up expectations higher than is really fair.
The film is a sweet, light and fun romantic comedy with visibily middle-tier production values. The much-hyped ethnicity of the central characters is something that, for the most part, we haven't really seen in mainstream American cinema, but at the same time, only the particulars make it unique: In many ways, this is the same story we've seen dozens of times about Jewish characters, Italian-American characters, Irish-American characters, et cetera. This isn't a condemnation of the film, but I do disagree that this is something startling and unique.
The cast are generally of a high quality, and it's especially nice to see John Corbett resurface after too many years out of the limelight. (And where are the "Northern Exposure" DVD sets, already?) The writing is charming, but unexceptional, but particular note needs to be made of writer/star Nia Vardalos, who is by no means a classic romantic lead, and who is made up to look her worst through much of the film, to the point of it being almost a little embarassing to watch at times. While the attraction Corbett's character feels for her is never properly explored, it's wonderful to watch her flower in the light of his affection.
Not the best romantic comedy ever, but a rewarding and entertaining film. Just go into it knowing that its reputation has somewhat overblown many viewers' expectations.
Recommended for fans of romantic comedies looking for something (a little) different.