My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 – Movie Review

Posted by Eddie Pasa on September 7, 2023 in / No Comments

 

Rated PG-13 by the MPA for suggestive material and some nudity. Running time: 91 minutes. Released by Focus Features.

Everything’s dark, bleak, and gritty these days. Superhero origin stories, James Bond films, even the color grading on streaming network shows and movies – everything has a sheen of gloom over it. This must be why My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 exists, as a counterpoint to the darkness and drudgery wrought by today’s media. The entirety of the film – its script, music, performances, and cinematographer Jim Denault’s sunny, color-drenched frames – bathes us in a frothy, bubbly mix of romance, touching family drama, and the feeling that love can conquer all.

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3, Focus FeaturesOf course, bubbles don’t last too long, do they? They’re nice to look at and fun to create, but in the end, they pop and you’re left with only the memory of it, which usually lasts just long enough for the next batch of bubbles to come. Star Nia Vardalos steps back into both directing and writing roles to hopefully steer past what went wrong with the second film but only manages to emerge with a piece of fluff that, while sweet and well-intentioned, still doesn’t capture the way the original stuck to your bones.

But… it’s so darn nice while you’re watching it. The script is full of poignant moments strung together like late-night skits, leaving the film feeling a little episodic in nature (and by nature), but knitted with obvious goodwill and love. If given just a little more time dedicated to seating us with our characters and not rushing through each piece, we might’ve had something a little more substantive. But no – it’s pedal to the metal as Toula (Vardalos) gets wind of a reunion in her late father Gus’ (Michael Constantine, appearing in archive footage) village in Greece and attempts to fulfill one last task: delivering her father’s journal to his childhood friends.

From there, we catch up with the rest of Toula and Ian’s (John Corbett) family, the wild and crazy Portokalos clan. Fanciful Aunt Voula (Andrea Martin), pragmatic Aunt Freida (Maria Vacratsis), vain-to-the-point-of-disgust brother Nick (Louis Mandylor), and shifty cousins Nikki (Gia Carides) and Angelo (Joey Fatone) all return to their stock positions while Toula and Ian try to figure out how to find Gus’ friends after seeing the village has been deserted. The only bright points so far? The spritely, optimistic Mayor Victory (Melina Kotselou) and a forbidden romance among some remaining village residents.

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3, Focus FeaturesOh, and there’s something Toula’s daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris) is holding back after her first year at NYU (defining this film’s timeline as being less than a year removed from its predecessor) which is further buried by the appearance of Aristotle (Elias Kacavas), a young hunk who comes seemingly out of nowhere to be a potential love interest. I may not remember My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 with the utmost clarity, but I’m pretty damn sure this guy wasn’t the one Paris was kissing at the end of that film. I’m still unsure how Aristotle fits into this whole thing, especially seeing how he’s going on this trip with the family.

And when we get to Gus’ village, there are some surprises waiting for them – four new characters, all of whom have pretty hefty personal baggage. Each of them provides the film’s purpose, but Vardalos brightly spackles over what could be a rather ugly matter with a layer of resignation, eager to leave the past in the past and handwave away any negative tones. This film strives to not have a distasteful bone in its body, even making light of Toula’s mother’s oncoming dementia. Although this latter plot point is given sincerity eventually, Maria (Lainie Kazan) is only seen during phone calls and seated in the same place, cementing these sequences as mere comic relief.

The intertwining stories are glued together, attempting to give weight to each other but not quite giving us enough time or reason to be invested. Something about finding the oldest tree in the village is made to be so important, but ultimately doesn’t resonate or stick out as necessary. Melina Kotselou tries their best to make Victory as multidimensional as possible out of a paper-thin outline; Victory (accepted early on as nonbinary) is struggling to establish themselves as an effective mayor out of a town that, for all intents and purposes, doesn’t exist, which could be a metaphor for their role… and for everything else.

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3, Focus FeaturesIn true My Big Fat Greek Wedding fashion, mountains are made out of molehills, xenophobia gives way to acceptance, and noses are poked where they don’t belong. At least Vardalos can be relied upon to bring the best out of every character and create a world where things work out, even for only a little while. However, that’s not this film’s problem. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 is like being invited on a vacation, but what’s the last thing you want to do on a vacation? Run through your destination and not stick around to truly appreciate the vibes and flavors on offer. While what we see is sweet and heartwarming, we’re shuffled around too quickly to establish lasting memories. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 earns points for being full of life-affirming moments but loses out on what makes them mean something.

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Eddie Pasa

Eddie is a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA) and the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS). Since starting in 2010 at The Rogers Revue, Eddie has written for Reel Film News (now defunct), co-founded DC Filmdom, and writes occasionally for Gunaxin. When not reviewing movies, he's spending time with his wife and children, repeat-viewing favorites on 4k or Blu-Ray, working for rebranding agency Mekanic, or playing acoustic shows and DJing across the DC/MD/VA area. Special thanks go to Jenn Carlson, Moira and Ari Pasa, Viki Nova at City Dock Digital in Annapolis, Mike Parsons, Philip Van Der Vossen, and Dean Rogers.

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