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A Reel Life film section

Issue: Spring 2002

My Big Fat Greek Wedding movie review

Toula Portokalos (Nia Vardalos) is the iconic ugly duckling: glasses, lank hair, hunched shoulders, drab clothes, submissive disposition. She is the hostess in her family's Greek restaurant and serves coffee amidst the chaos of a large extended family, half of whom seem to be called Nick.

But Toula is about to break out. She, with the help of her mother, persuades her father to allow her to do a computer course.

The man is the head of the house, but the woman is the neck.

Movie poster, My Big Fat Greek Wedding; Festivale film review

Movie poster, My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Love is here to stay... so is her family.

This is the pattern throughout the film. The father is the domestic tyrant whose every decree is law. The women have to spend their lives working around him, every idea must be fed to him so that he thinks that it's his own. He spends the rest of his life in extended explanations of how every word in any language has a Greek root. It's supposed to be sweet and endearing. I found it arrogant, ignorant and obnoxious.

Toula uses her newfound skills and a few lies to emerge into a swan. She curls her hair, gets contacts and with help gets a job in another family enterprise -- the travel agency. Now she gets to meet (again) Ian Miller (John Corbett), and to discover the joys of forbidden love. When he asks her to marry him, the culture clashes increase dramatically. His family, her family. He must be baptised to be married in a Greek church.

It's all done in good humour, and the film-makers obviously have a fondness for the idiosyncratic Greek American lifestyle, but I'll never use Windex again.

A love story with lamb on a spit.

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by Ali Kayn
Due for Australian release 24 October 2002
For credits and official site details, see below
Search Festivale for more work by the film-makers below.

See also: Nia Vardalos (My Life in Ruins, I Hate Valentine's Day)

Just the facts:

Title: My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
Written by: Nia Vardalos
Directed by: Joel Zwick
running time: 95 mins
rating: G

The Players: Nia Vardalos, Michael Constantine, John Corbett, Jayne Eastwood,

Official website:
IMDb entry

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