Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Pour your self a shot of Ouzo and spit away the unhealthy spirits — the Portokalos household is again! And would not you recognize it? Anyone’s getting married in author/director/star Nia Vardalos’s threequel My Huge Fats Greek Marriage ceremony 3. So, who’s strolling down the aisle this time? And earlier than they do, will somebody use Windex inappropriately in honor of the household’s late patriarch, Gus (Michael Constantine)? Will Aunt Voula (Andrea Martin) point out her teratoma throughout dinner but once more? These are rhetorical questions, after all, and as baba Gus would’ve identified, “rhetorical” comes from the Greek phrase “rhētorikē,” which suggests “the artwork of oratory,” and certainly, there are much more etymology jokes to come back. S’all of the hits.

Arriving in theaters 21 total years after the unique movie charged outta nowhere and smashed field workplace information — it stays the highest-grossing rom-com of all time — with its easy story of a Greek woman named Toula (Vardalos) and a not-Greek boy named Ian (John Corbett) falling in love towards the needs of her prolonged, prolonged, prolonged household, the third movie finds our now middle-aged couple occurring trip. 

Form of. Befitting the marginally extra mournful tone of this entry, Toula and Ian have each just lately misplaced their fathers, mirroring the truth that each Constantine and Bruce Grey, who performed Ian’s father Rodney, have died for the reason that second film got here out in 2016. So, the “trip” that the couple’s embarking on is mostly a return to Gus’s homeland in Greece, the place Toula plans to satisfy his dying want by hand-delivering a journal he’d stored to his three greatest childhood buddies.

Extra Mammas than you’ll be able to shake a Mia at.

Credit score: Focus Options

After all, we might hardly depart the prolonged Portokalos clan again in Chicago — they’re, in spite of everything, this franchise’s bread and butter. And so alongside for the journey we have Toula and Ian’s college-aged daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris), who appears to be harboring some sort of secret. There’s Toula’s brother Nick (Louis Mandylor), who… Properly, he additionally appears to be harboring some sort of secret. After which there are the comical aunties, Voula (Martin) and Frieda (Maria Vacratsis), who could not harbor a secret if both of their lives relied on it. They are saying each out-there thought that crosses their minds, which is why we love ’em.

However what of mama Maria (Lainie Kazan), you ask? The movie’s opening scene offers us one other large blow of unhappy stuff proper out of the gate, exhibiting us that Marie now has Alzheimer’s and may solely sporadically acknowledge her members of the family. The truth that the script conveniently makes use of mentioned Alzheimer’s as an excuse to provide us a fast upfront exposition dump – we’re informed in regards to the journey to Greece and why they’re all going there throughout a reminiscence check for Maria – is possibly somewhat bizarre? And no matter real-world causes there have been that Kazan could not be an even bigger a part of the movie and are available alongside on the journey, that will likely be simply the primary bout with awkwardness that My Huge Fats Greek Marriage ceremony 3 runs into. There will likely be extra. As certain as roosters will crow the clock hours, awkwardness will come a’crowing.

That is very true for Paris, who appears solely a hair much less continuously mortified by her household’s antics than she did within the second film. Her match-making aunties have hatched a diabolical plot to maintain the Greek child practice rolling, bringing alongside on the journey an lovely boy named Aristotle (Elias Kacavas) that Paris briefly dated throughout faculty, all beneath the guise of him being Voula’s “assistant.” And if it’s important to ask if he is Greek… Did you see that his title is Aristotle? We have not made it to the third entry of this franchise anticipating subtlety.

There is not any place like Greece, there is no place like Greece…

Credit score: Focus Options

Just like the Acropolis they velocity by after leaving the airport, and the donkey-riding farmer we then see utilizing an iPad, My Huge Fats Greek Marriage ceremony 3 makes it clear shortly that this is not going to be the genial “travelogue throughout old-timey paradise” film that we’d have come into it anticipating. This is not an ABBA musical of idyllic places and sun-kissed tans. And that is an purpose that matches squarely in Vardalos’s long-term imaginative and prescient for this collection, for as broad as her humor has at all times performed, her characters have managed to bridge stereotype with fact. You would see the love for and the truth of them beneath the gags — that sense of authenticity was an enormous a part of what carried the primary film to such lofty cross-cultural heights in 2002. 

And so the Greece that My Huge Fats Greek Marriage ceremony 3 takes us to finally ends up being a bit much less of a paradise than it’s a ghost city. Like Gus did a long time earlier, most everybody’s moved away; his hometown village has a grand whole of six folks residing in it when the Portokalos clan come calling. The wells have dried up. And there are traces of Syrian refugees lining the streets, searching for work and for bread, ruffling some feathers within the course of. (As one character factors out, “xenophobia” is a Greek phrase too.) 

Did I count on My Huge Fats Greek Marriage ceremony 3 to deal with the European refugee disaster amid all of its lighthearted shenanigans? I can say I most totally didn’t. And that is to the movie’s profit; with out entering into spoilers for this movie’s shock matrimonial plot, each marriage ceremony on this franchise has had a little bit of a politicized sting to it, from Toula’s authentic rejection of her household’s cloistered worldview to Maria’s speech within the second movie that beat Barbie to the feminist punch on the unfair expectations positioned on girls. Discovering methods to snip via conservative notions and discover a broader, extra liberal and accepting world via these knots may be very clearly close to and pricey to Vardalos’s coronary heart, and bless her for it.

Mo household, mo issues.

Credit score: Focus Options

The issue is that for all of its large discuss secrets and techniques and surprises, My Huge Fats Greek Marriage ceremony 3 retains substituting breadth for weigh. Plots and divulges preserve flying on the display screen, however the movie would not give them room to breathe or really feel terribly consequential. The “secret” that Paris is harboring is so tepid it doesn’t even warrant an Aunt Voula eye-roll (for an exciting fast second the film makes us assume her character could be queer, however then backs off simply as quick). And the love story at its coronary heart is a Cliffs Notes model of the primary film transposed. It is solely drama-free, as a result of there are 20 different issues concurrently taking place, and we hardly know half of those folks.

And the folks we do know have principally stiffened into bits by now. Andrea Martin is a legend and an icon, and he or she wrings each drop of humor from each line she’s tasked with, however by the point this movie has her detailing her third contemporary medical anomaly, the gag’s past her. It is just like the tenth SNL skit for a beloved character whose punchline has lastly curdled into cringe.

However this Larger, Fatter, Greeker Marriage ceremony ain’t all one thing blue.

Credit score: Focus Options

There are exceptions – feeling like a candy call-back to the primary movie particularly, the entire stuff between Toula and Nick is tremendous candy and touching, and the “secret” that he is dropped at Greece with him finally ends up being the movie’s most genuinely transferring. Admittedly, it slides in from nearly out of nowhere, however then that is par for the course for a film the place John Corbett’s solely function is to pop up once in a while and ask, “Should not we be having fun with ourselves just a bit?” Sure, John! Sure, it’s best to.

Which brings us to the movie’s effervescent spotlight: a facet quest involving cousins Nikki (Gia Carides) and Angelo (Joey Fatone) making an attempt to trace down Gus’s childhood buddies that would’ve been an hour longer. These scenes profit from having a stable throughline and end-point, one thing which the remainder of this aimless outing retains shedding sight of amid all its telescoping facet plots and played-out bits. However Carides and Fatone have killer chemistry, and their characters get to be full of life and brash in methods each different depressive character right here lacks. It isn’t everyone else’s fault that the cousins are having the time of their lives whereas they mope round listlessly, however it’s not ours within the viewers both that we kinda find yourself wishing we had been touring with Nikki and Angelo the entire time as an alternative.

So it is undoubtedly the legislation of diminishing returns for the My Huge Fats Greek Marriage ceremony franchise; it is secure to say most everybody’s rating will most likely go in numerical order with this right here third quantity stacked roundly in final place. But in case you have any fondness for these characters, it is not ninety minutes completely misplaced, particularly on this, our 12 months of 2023, there’s one thing great about this household of not-supers warranting an ongoing big-screen collection of movies. It is the cinematic equal of consolation meals, like a heat blanket manufactured from spanakopita and group hugs.

My Huge Fats Greek Marriage ceremony 3 is now in theaters.

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