“My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” – sweet end-of-summer fun



Story: The Portokalos family is struggling; patriarch Gus has passed, mother Maria seems to be suffering from dementia, and the cousins are busy with Real Life™. So Toula decides to head to Greece (with family in tow) and fulfill a promise she made to her dad; give his old coming-to-America journal to his BFF. But finding that old friend won’t be easy, especially as Gus’ familial village ain’t what it used to be…

Genre I’d put it in: Family Comedies That Make You Want To Travel
Release Date: 2023
Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: The third part of the My Big Fat Greek Wedding franchise. Based on Nia Vardalos’ one woman play, which was based on her real life. Got that?

Gotta say: The first My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a touchstone between my sisters and I; Nia Vardalos’ story had one of my sisters rocking in the fetal from the spot-on secondhand embarrassment. Wedding 2 was okay, but felt like a re-hash of the first film, with too much harking back to the original story. But 3 is a glow-up in every sense of the word. They don’t bother with the glow-down/glow-up from 2 – can we just all agree that Vardalos looks absolutely freaking incredible, period? The location goes from stock-locale Chi-town to drop-dead gorgeous Athens. Even the wedding that’s the star of the film’s title feels like a natural occurrence that springs from the various subplots crashing together. (In the Portokalos family, things don’t come together. They crash.) 3 is a worthy successor to the OG film, and a lovely way to spend a sticky, icky day. Who doesn’t want to relax in the AC while looking at shots of places you’d rather be? *happy sigh*

The myriad of subplots that made 2 a bit of a cluster, makes 3 fascinating. Is that because each different subplot involves different settings, where we can see more of gorgeous Athens (and Corfu)? Maybe? But the cast of characters adds fresh new faces that breathes life into the usual Portokalos family sturm und drang. (What? It’s my sisters that speak Greek. I’m just here for my looks. God help us.) While Toula tries to find her dad’s childhood BFFs, her hubby Lan finds a Greek monk who lives in the cutest beachside cottage ever, and her daughter Paris tries to grapple with telling her parents A Big Secret. Meanwhile, Paris’ love-life gets twisted when Ari – a guy she ghosted awhile back – becomes her Aunt Voula’s travel pack-mule. Then there’s Enby legend Victory (special shout-out to performer Melina Kotselou for being awesome), the new mayor of Gus’ childhood village, who is trying to host a village reunion in the hope of breathing life into the dying town, and beautiful Syrian refugee Qamar is in love with her employer’s son Peter…and Qamar, obviously, isn’t Greek. Uh-oh. I could go on, but y’all get the gist. There’s a lot going on. But. Unlike 2, everything feels like it naturally springs up from Toula et al.’s visit, and the shenanigans that ensue. Oh! I almost forgot. Yes, there’s a rooster crowing. I mean, c’mon. You’ve gotta have that to denote each passing day, right? YES YOU DO.

Vardalos does writing and directing duty in this film, so it’s no shock that Toula is simply part of the ensemble in 3. And that too is a welcome change. The script doesn’t try to shoehorn the character into every subplot, instead letting Toula and Lan do their own thing, while the rest of the cast does theirs. They all come together for a wedding that’s so simple yet sumptuous that I was swooning in my reclining seat. (I now have a mighty need to hang evil eye pendants on ribbons to every tree branch I see. Trust me, it’s stunning.) DP Barry Peterson seems to have the easiest job in the world – make Greece look amazing. But Peterson’s cinematography is so crystal clear and beautifully shot that it feels like you could just step into the screen and become one with the story. You’re gonna want to dust off your passport after this one, y’all. I know I want to.

Bonus? 3 took the death of acting legend /”Gus Portokalos” Michael Constantine and turned it into a beautiful love letter to family, memory, and Greece, while keeping the story of this family relevant, interesting, and emotionally satisfying. It’s a lovely cap to this trilogy. Opa!

#Protip: Can’t get to Greece right now? I feel you. So why not hit a Greek restaurant to sate your craving? For example? Baltimore’s Estiatorio Plaka has some yummy Greek munchies. They were kind enough to throw a MBFGW3 shining last month, and gotta say, I’m still dreaming of that calamari. If you see me at the takeaway bakery, trying to eat my weight in spanakopita? Say hi! And pass me a napkin, would’ya?

Denise Kitashima Dutton on FacebookDenise Kitashima Dutton on Twitter
Denise Kitashima Dutton

Denise has been covering books, movies and music since 2003. She’s hoping she’ll get the hang of it any day now.

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