At The Movies: “Big Greek” tragedy
BY PAUL WILLISTEIN
“My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” is the latest movie in Hollywood’s Wedding Industrial Complex.
Among contemporary movie walks down the aisle: “Crazy Rich Asians” (2018), “Destination Wedding” (2018), “The Five-Year Engagement” (2012), “Bachelorette” (2012), “Bridesmaids” (2011), “Jumping The Broom” (2011), “Bride Wars” (2009), “The Hangover” (2009), “Made of Honor” (2008), “Mamma Mia!” (2008), “Rachel Getting Married” (2008), “27 Dresses” (2008),
Also: “Wedding Crashers” (2005), “Monster-In-Law” (2005) “The Wedding Date” (2005), “Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement” (2002), “The Wedding Planner” (2001), “Monsoon Wedding” (2001), ”Meet The Parents” (2000),
And: “Runaway Bride” (1999), “The Best Man“ (1999), “The Wedding Singer” (1998), “My Best Friend’s Wedding” (1997), “Four Weddings and A Funeral” (1994), “Muriel’s Wedding” (1994), “Honeymoon in Vegas” (1992), “Father of the Bride” (1991) and “The Princess Bride” (1987).
Among those of the Turner Classic Movies era: “High Society” (1956), “Sabrina” (1954), “Royal Wedding” (1951), “Father of the Bride” (1950) and “The Philadelphia Story” (1940).
With so many movies about weddings, it might be easier to list movies that are not about weddings.
How many of these movies about weddings have you seen? I would guess you’ve seen many of them.
Hollywood cannot seem to divorce itself from wedding-themed movies.
“My Big Fat Greek Wedding” (2002) had a budget of $5 million and a worldwide box office gross of $368.7 million.
Success breeds success, or at least attempts to catch rice in a bottle twice or thrice.
The third installment of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is one funeral (which happened between sequels) and a wedding.
The Portokalos family returns to the fatherland, Greece, to return the father, Gus (Michael Constantine, born 1927 in Reading, Berks County, where he died in 2021), or rather his ashes, to his favorite olive garden.
The trip to Greece sets up a family rivalry as to who should become the paterfamilias.
Toula (Nia Vardalos), with husband Ian (John Corbett) and relatives in coach, take flight to Greece, ostensibly to return her dad’s diary and photographs to his childhood friends.
Returning the urn containing dad’s ashes is the trip’s real purpose. The movie plot has urned interest.
Toula’s and Ian’s daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris) is coping with nearly flunking out of college and keeping her boyfriend, Aristotle (Elias Kacavas), at arm’s length.
The screenplay for “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3,” written by Nia Vardalos, who directs the movie, is as thin as the phyllo in baklava.
Vardalos wrote the screenplays for “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” (2002), directed by Joel Zwick, and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” (2016), directed by Kirk Jones.
“My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” opens with scenes of delicious Greek dishes. That’s about as close as you’ll get to having your romantic-comedy appetite satisfied.
The characters can dish, but they don’t dish it out. The dialogue is muted. The punchlines miss in the air. Too many scenes that should be brimming with energy are presented in slow motion. Even the dancing, at the disco, among the village folk and at the wedding, seems subdued.
In supporting roles are Louis Mandylor (Toula’s brother Nick), Gia Carides (Cousin Nikki), Joey Fatone (Cousin Angelo), Maria Vacratsis (Aunt Vrieda), Lainie Kazan (Maria, Gus’s widow), Andrea Martin (Aunt Voula), Melina Kotselou (Victory, mayor of the town that the family visits) and the movie’s wedding couple No. 3, Alex Georgoulis (Peter) and Stephanie Nur (Qamar).
I’m not sure what I was expecting with “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3.” Maybe “Zorba the Greek” (1964)? The closest connection to that classic film that I could find in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” is an exterior depiction of Dancing Zorba’s Greek restaurant, Toronto, Canada.
Was I expecting gruff but charming variants of Telly Savalas (1922-1994)? Maybe a modern-day sultriness of, say, Melina Mercouri (1920 - 1994)?
That I wanted more set my mind to wondering.
Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Chastain, Tina Fey, Marilu Henner, Tiffani Thiessen or other Hollywood stars of Greek heritage could have enlivened the movie.
So could have Zach Galifianakis, Billy Zane, John Stamos, Hugh Jackman and Hank Azaria.
Rita Wilson (also of Green descent) and Tom Hanks and their Playtone movie studio imprint are among the movie’s producers.
“My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” seems to exist in a world where everyone is play-acting rather than acting.
“My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” serves up a picture postcard view, or filtered selfies social media representation, of Greece. Watching the movie, I couldn‘t help but think of the wildfires that ravaged Greece since July 2023 and the 15,000 refugees who sought asylum in Greece this year.
If there’s another sequel, perhaps it should be titled “My Big Fat Greek Tragedy.”
“My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3,”
MPAA Rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers.) for suggestive material and some nudity; Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama. Run time: 1 hour, 32 minutes. Distributed by Focus Features.
Credit Readers Anonymous:
“My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” filming locations in summer 2022 included Athens, Corfu and Santorini, Greece.
At The Movies: “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” was seen in the standard format at AMC Center Valley 16.
Theatrical Motion Picture Domestic Weekend Box Office,
Sept. 22-24: There was none better at the box office than “The Nun II,” continuing at No. 1 three weeks in a row, with $8.4 million in 3,536 theaters, $69.2 million, three weeks, fending off yet another challenger as it knocked out Rocky, aka Sylvester Stallone, starring in “Expend4bles,” $8.3 million in 3,518 theaters, opening.
3. “A Haunting in Venice” dropped one place, $6.3 million in 3,305 theaters, $25.3 million, two weeks. 4. “The Equalizer 3” dropped one place, $4.7 million in 3,270 theaters, $81.2 million, four weeks. 5. “Barbie” stayed in place, $3.2 million in 2,634 theaters, $630.4 million, 10 weeks. 6. “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” dropped two places, $3 million in 3,078 theaters, $23.8 million, three weeks. 7. “It Lives Inside,” $2.6 million in 2,005 theaters, opening. 8. “Dumb Money” moved up 11 places, $2.5 million in 616 theaters, two weeks. 9. “Blue Beetle” dropped three places, $1.8 million in 1,953 theaters, $69.8 million, six weeks. 10. “Oppenheimer” dropped one place, $1.6 million in 1,459 theaters, $321.2 million, 10 weeks.
Movie box office information from Box Office Mojo as of Sept. 24 is subject to change.
“The Creator,” PG-13: Gareth Edwards directs John David Washington,
Madeleine Yuna Voyles and Gemma Chan in the Action, Adventure, Drama. A robot in the form of a child is a secret weapon in a war between humans and Artificial Intelligent robots.
R: Kevin Greufert directs Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith and Synnøve Macody Lund in the Horror Mystery Thriller. John travels to Mexico for a cancer cure, only to be tricked by scammers. He seeks revenge.
“PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie,”
PG: Cal Brunker directs the voice talents of Finn Lee Epp, Ron Pardo, McKenna Grace, Taraji P. Henson, James Marsden, Kristen Bell, Tyler Perry, Kim Kardashian, Chris Rock and Dax Shepard in the Action, Adventure Animation film. The PAW Patrol gain superpowers as The Mighty Pups.
“The Kill Room,”
R: Nicol Paone directs Maya Hawke, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Joe Manganiello and Debi Mazar in the Thriller. A hitman, his boss and an art dealer hatch a money-laundering scheme that accidentally turns an assassin into an art-world sensation.
R: Rusty Cundieff directs Morgan Freeman, Josh Hutcherson, Lovie Simone and Greg Germann in the Science-Fiction Thriller. A tech blogger finds a mysterious ring that takes him 57 seconds into the past.
Movie opening date information from Internet Movie Database as of Sept. 24 is subject to change.
Two Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes