My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 review: A big fat waste of time

This long-awaited sequel to one of the biggest rom-coms of all time surges with humanity, goodwill and fellow feeling - and is a total dud

Tolerable charm: Nia Vardalos and John Corbett in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

Film Title: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

Director: Kirk Jones

Starring: Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Michael Constantine, Lainie Kazan, Andrea Martin, Gia Carides, Joey Fatone, Elena Kampouris

Genre: Comedy

Running Time: 94 min

Thu, Mar 24, 2016, 18:38

   

In one sense, this long-awaited (or feared) sequel to a staggering sleeper hit – the first Fat Wedding is the highest-grossing romantic comedy in US history – looks like perfect complementary counter- programming to Batman hates Superman.

Whereas that huge film is fuelled by ersatz misery, the intimate MBFGW 2, like its predecessor, surges with humanity, goodwill and fellow feeling. Hold your chilly hands up to the screen and feel them warm dramatically.

Unfortunately, the film is a total dud. Fourteen years after that unexpected success, virtually the entire cast has returned for a second bite of baklava. Toula (Nia Vardalos, who again writes the script) is still happily married to Ian (John Corbett) and, previously suffocated by her own parents, is now in the business of suffocating her own teenage daughter Paris (the excellent Elena Kampouris). Toula is, if you fancy, the meat in a suffocation sandwich.

Because we need another wedding, her bickering parents (Lainie Kazan and Michael Constantine) discover that their wedding certificate was never properly signed and are forced to launch fresh festivities. Meanwhile, Paris ponders whether to stay in Chicago after college or travel to NYU.

All this gives the impression that the film has a plot. It really doesn’t. MBFGW 2 is little more than a clutter of indifferent sketches flung together with no inclinations to order.

The jokes are exactly the same as last time and, though we’ve been given time to forget, have aged worse than most of the cast. Dad thinks everything worthwhile has Greek origins. Grandma appears in unlikely places. Only Andrea Martin, back as the vivacious, controlling Aunt Voula, manages to inject any fresh energy into the wilted script.

(Could some mention not have been made of the economic difficulties back in the old country? That subject feels like a conspicuously ignored elephant.)

If mounted by anybody from outside the Greek community, the film would be seen as staggeringly offensive. But Vardalos and her team – always bursting through doors to the sound of massed bouzoukis – have enough charm to make the experience tolerable.

Conveniently, Kirk Jones, director of Waking Ned, is a past master in the art of such dubious racial stereotyping. What’s the Greek equivalent of “Paddywhackery”?