Nobody saw Nia Vardalos’ My Big Fat Greek Wedding coming when it released in 2002, but the filmmaker’s first foray into the world of movies proved a critical and financial darling. It was a fun film that worked by being genuine and cute.
Then came the sequel no one wanted in 2016, which would have been forgivable if not for the recent release of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3—a sequel so devoid of humor, originality, pep, enjoyment, stakes, drama, good writing, interesting cinematography, music or even hope that it almost feels insulting to have watched it. I mean, I’m a Greek dude myself, and I’ve seen how our families operate—not a one of us goes around reminding literally fucking everyone that we’re Greek at any opportunity, yet that’s the bulk of Vardalos’ newest film.
This time out, the Portokalos family with all of its barely-there facsimiles of characters head to Greece for a family reunion at the behest of up-and-coming matriarch Toula (Vardalos). Everyone’s there, from the dimensionless brother (Louis Mandylor) and the pair of aunties who are just so full of non-threatening sass (Andrea Martin and Maria Vacratsis) to Toula’s non-Greek husband (John Corbett) and daughter (Elena Kampouris, who kind of just makes ruh-roh faces anytime she’s on screen).
Toula’s dad died at some point between the last movie and now, so she’s supposed to bring his journal to his childhood best pals from the old country. And so begins 90 minutes of jokes about souvlaki and sheep who wander indoors and the overbearing nature of Greek moms and blah fucking blah blah blah.
Vardalos, who wrote the script and here directs, might have bothered to at least not recycle literally three jokes ad nauseam, but instead chooses to stitch together roughly 40 scenes that only connect because the characters tell us so. In fact, so little of MBFGW3 reads like a cohesive film that I was nearly convinced I’d had a stroke before I walked in. Rather than craft something meaningful, like the first film, Vardalos has instead tossed some deus ex machina and MacGuffin elements into the type of script that might serve as a warning for what not to do, peppered in a few jokes about food and cooking, snuck in the quickest bit of nonbinary representation and one throwaway line about helping Ukrainian refugees and then, one can only assume, cashed her check for the free work trip to Greece and moved on.
This film is crammed with toothless humor, zero character development and one of the most exhausting long lost brother moments in the history of long lost brother moments. Only Martin and Vacratsis offer any levity or quality acting (looking at you, Joey Fatone from N’Sync, who is somehow in these movies) or reasons to laugh with sincerity. Shame on them for making this thing and shame on audiences for continuing to allow it. Boo! Filth! Muck! Slime! Rubbish! Boooooo!
+Greece sure is pretty
-Unfunny; unoriginal; uninteresting; unredeemable
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3
Directed by Vardalos
With Vardalos, Corbett, Kampouris, Martin, Vacratis and Mandylor
Violet Crown, PG-13, 92 min.