Film, Film Review

REVIEW: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 (2023) dir. Nia Vardalos

This family vacation is as sweet as galaktoboureko


Opa! The Portokalos family is back for the third installment of the My Big Fat Greek Wedding franchise. I know what you’re thinking: there was a second one? And the answer is yes! It came out in 2016! I watched it last month and it was cute. This time, Nia Vardalos is behind the camera and taking the whole family to Greece! As always, hijinks ensue, lavish meals are prepared, and running gags are driven into the ground. It’s cinematic counter-programming at its finest.

The film opens with some quick exposition. Sadly, Portokalos patriarch Gus has passed away (as has the actor who played him, Michael Constantine). His dying wish was for his daughter Toula (Vardalos) and his son Nick (Louis Mandylor) to bring his journal to his childhood friends in their ancestral village in Greece. Toula is looking forward to a family vacation with her husband Ian (John Corbett, who seems happy to just hang out) and daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris), a way to unwind from the stress of running the family restaurant and looking after her ailing mother Maria (Lainie Kazan). Seems simple enough, but things get a little weird once they reach the motherland. A wacky nonbinary mayor named Victory (Melina Kotselou) awaits them, saying there will be a great family reunion in the village. The Portokalos family is swept up in an attempt to revitalize a dying town while trying to unravel their father’s secrets. Fortunately, Theia Voula (Andrea Martin) and Theia Freida (Maria Vacratsis) are along for the ride as well, providing comic relief and delicious food.

I have two metrics to measure success for modern Hollywood filmmaking: “Was the movie filmed in a place?” and “Do the actors feel like they were being held hostage?” I am happy to report that My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 was filmed entirely on location in Greece, and everyone involved seemed to have had a great time. Vardalos uses her status as writer, director, and star, to really just mess around and do whatever seems most fun. The film is big, silly, and barely 85 minutes. Just like Venom: Let There Be Carnage.

Much like the first two films, the jokes about an overbearing Greek family can grow a bit thin and the “plot” doesn’t have much to hold onto. Toula’s daughter is hiding things, she may or may not have a crush on the handsome Aristotle (Elias Kacavas, a non-entity), blah blah blah. However, you do get to see the magnificent Andrea Martin on the big screen talking about how she loves her gay son played by Joey Fatone, so it’s kind of a wash. There’s pathos in the family struggle with aging parents, but there’s far more time spent dancing among the olive trees. I honestly just think it is so fun that not only did Vardalos get to make this film, but it got a theatrical release and wasn’t just punted to Max. Maybe the streaming revolution hasn’t won yet! I pray for My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3’s success at the box office, however ridiculous that may sound.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3
Dir. Nia Vardalos
92 min

Opens @ Kendall Square Cinema and theaters everywhere Friday 9/8

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