Review: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3
Reviewer Flickchart ranking: 4,634 / 5,195
My Big Fat Greek Wedding landed in movie theaters in 2002. The independent feature which introduced the world to Nia Vardalos’ sweet, quirky take on Greek-American life stormed the box office and grossed over $350 million. It was followed by a sitcom in 2003 (My Big Fat Greek Life), but that only managed to stay on air for seven episodes. Vardalos returned to her heritage in 2009’s My Life in Ruins and came back to the Portokalos family with My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (2016), which grossed a more modest but still successful $90.6 million.
Vardalos takes over the director’s chair in the third installment of the series. Family patriarch Gus Portokalos (Michael Constantine) has passed, and matriarch Maria (Lainie Kazan) has signs of dementia. The Portokalos siblings have been tasked by their father’s last wishes to take his memoirs back to Greece and the best friends he left behind. Almost everyone from the previous films packs into an airplane and heads off to a family reunion planned by the mayor of the small Grecian village. Vardalos adds an extraneous number of subplots, one involving a Syrian immigrant falling in love with a young Greek man, a college student hiding problems from their parents, young romances, a long-lost relative, a dying village’s dried-up water source, a marriage in need of relaxation, and the Portokalos family’s need for a new head. All are dealt with in swift, careless fashion. Each new crisis is handled with less depth or creativity than a 22-minute situational comedy treatment.
While the My Big Fat Greek Wedding brand has operated from the beginning with an endearing amateurism and episodic, situational humor, the third film abandons any attempt at a cohesive narrative, as though a market research group pieced together the script through audience reactions to the previous films. Vardalos’ film teeters on the edge of incompetence, with nonsensical editing choices and some of the worst CGI in opening credits in the 21st century. The tired jokes fall flat and the one charming new character, the young mayor played by Melina Kotselou, is ultimately reduced to a repeated one-liner.
Nia Vardalos is endearing yet again as Toula, and her chemistry with John Corbett is effortless. While the original film traded character development for easy charm, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 fails to deliver those simple pleasures. Awkward asides, undeveloped resolutions, and a lack of comedic creativity sink this voyage to the Mediterranean Sea.