Saturday, 26 March 2016

Review: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

World of Blackout Film Review

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 Poster

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
Cert: 12A / 94 mins / Dir. Kirk Jones / Trailer
WoB Rating: 4/7

Because the received wisdom is that when you release a big movie for the boys, you need to put something on for the girls to watch, too. The girls who don't want to watch Henry Cavill's torso I suppose, but hey, we could easily have gotten Tina Fey shrieking through some Universal-spawned neon nightmare instead, so this film's already at least one point ahead ;)

Yes, the Portokalos family are back, louder and more intrusive than ever, as Nia and Ian's daughter Paris reaches college-age, and Nia's parents find out they were never legally married fifty years ago. So warm-hearted bickering all round, then...

As the writer producer and headlining star, Nia Vardalos' observational family material is very good (as in the first film), but the overall structure is more shambolic here than I think anyone intended. While there's a far more solid storyline this time around, procedings are still hampered by sub-plots treated as muttered asides. Set eighteen-or-so years after My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Toula and Ian are apparently in some mid-life rut according to the script, but this only illustrated by characters periodically mentioning it, rather than - y'know - acting. Toula's dad's 50-year grudge with his brother in Greece is mentioned in one scene, then resolved in less than a minute, three scenes later. Toula's cousin Angelo is revealed as gay in one scene, then his anxieties about coming out to traditionalist family are brushed away in less than a minute the next time it's referenced.

Now it'll come as no great surprise for you to learn that I didn't watch the first movie's spin-off sitcom, so I don't know if any of these more throwaway moments are tying up loose ends from that (although it's thirteen years old now and there were only seven episodes, so I'd be surprised if that's the case). This really feels like a bunch of TV episodes condensed down into a movie, and with only an hour and a half, things get slightly cluttered, and not in a 'crazy' way.

But ultimately MBFGW2 is a bit fluffy, a lot undemanding and refreshingly non-cynical without resorting to tweeness. The film spends a lot of time coasting on charm, but there are plenty of wry smiles, quite a few chuckles and a couple of good guffaws*.

The film's not going to push any boundaries or redefine the genre, but it's very comfortable in its own skin, which helps a lot. But a sequel this chronologically separated from its forebear shouldn't feel so much like filler

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
Well y'know. The first one.

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
It won't really add any extra layer to the experience.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
MBFGW2 sets its sights relatively low, so yes.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
Not really.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Not really.

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Not at all.

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 2: John Corbett (yes, Ronnie's son) appeared in 2008's Street Kings, as did Mr Forest Whitaker who should be turning up somewhere in Star Wars: Rogue One later this year.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 Mind you, Mrs Blackout and myself were lucky enough to be seated directly in front of patrons who had evidently never seen a comedy so utterly hilarious before. Seriously, it was like being sat in a room with two haunted laugh-bags. Sometimes this would be at one of the jokes, at others it was just at one of the characters walking through a doorway (no, really). The funnier the joke, the more terrified the rest of the audience was.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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