Best Chick Flicks-My Big Fat Greek Wedding
My Big Fat Greek Wedding - Is this The Right Title?
I offer the above question to anyone who has ever seen this movie which is a favourite of mine!
Anyone who has ever seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding, indeed anyone who has ever reviewed it will tell you that the movie is not really about the wedding - well it is but the wedding itself takes up very little screen time.
Indeed the wedding doesn't really happen until the last twenty minutes of the movie.
If you're looking for a movie about the actual ceremony - this isn't it but it is all the better for that in my opinion.
By the end of the movie you may decide it should be called 'My Big Fat Greek Family' but you will still want to watch it again :o)
My Big Fat Greek Wedding - A Word of Mouth Triumph
Nia Vardalos is the star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, she is a Greek-Canadian, born in Manitoba.
Nia started acting when she was young and eventually ended up at Chicago's Second City Theatre Group. It was while she was there doing improv and skit sketches that she had the idea to write a one-woman show.
She rang all of her friends and asked them to send her the funniest stories she had ever told them about her family. They faxed and phoned and emailed back and Nia knew she was right to think that this would be funny enough to make a show.
Her show was a sell-out. When Tom Hanks's wife, Rita Wilson saw it, she convinced Tom that they should produce a movie of it and of course, Nia was kept in the lead role. Incidentally, Rita had a similar conversation with Tom after seeing Mama Mia at the theatre! 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' remains one of the top grossing independent movies.
What makes 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' such a success is the fact that it is bursting with Nia's autobiographical stories and an ensemble cast who are just brilliant - it really could not fail.
Whatever it was that Rita Wilson saw in the show at the theatre certainly made the transition to film - it is a wonderful story.
Toula - A Woman Looking for Love
When we first meet Toula, she is working in her parents' Greek restaurant, Dancing Zorba's and she is going through a period of self-reflection, wondering why, at thirty, she is still working here with no real prospects for change.
A handsome stranger comes into the restaurant and she is immediately smitten but she knows she will remain unnoticed whilst she remains at the restaurant.
She tells her parents that she wants to go to night classes and learn about computers and they ask why - she could stay at the restaurant and earn money there but Toula is a bright girl who feels that if she stays too immersed in her own culture, she will never really get the most out of life.
Her parents, Gus and Maria are first generation immigrants and their lives are still very Greek in nature. Toula jokes that even their house was modeled on the Parthenon. Her father tells anyone who will listen that he can give the Greek root of every word in the language. Toula invites him to do this with the words 'kimono' and he still makes something up.
Toula describes her childhood as being surrounded by 'perfect blonde' girls whilst she was 'a swarthy six year old with sideburns' so we know she has a great sense of humour from the outset of the movie but she is a funny girl in a house full of funny characters.
The main humour comes from the many idiosyncrasies of being of Greek descent.
Toula makes a huge change - she gets rid of her glasses, ditches her frumpy clothes and gets a job in her Aunt Voula's travel agency, all in the name of reinventing herself in order to find love.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding - "A Greek Should Marry A Greek!"
Toula is working at the travel agent when that same handsome stranger from the restaurant walks in to book a trip. His name is Ian Miller and he is an American born and bred. He is young and handsome with long hair.
He recognises her but he also sees that she is a very changed woman and he likes what he sees and asks her out to dinner.
Toula cannot believe that the man she so admired likes her just as much and they go out to dinner and it is not long after that Ian declares his love for Toula and they decide to get married.
In many respects, the two main stars of the movie, Vardalos and John Corbett act as the fall guys for the other members of the cast. Their romance whilst sweet and rather heartening is a focal point not only for the movie's romance but also for much of its humour.
John Corbett plays Ian Miller as a well dressed, long haired, handsome American who is madly in love with this funny, quirky, pretty Greek girl.
He soon learns though, that to marry a Greek girl, you also need to marry her entire family.
Toula's news of her engagement does not go down well even when Ian agrees to convert to the Greek Orthodox Church.
Her parents don't understand why she is in love with this man when there are so many good looking men of Greek extraction around.
Nia Vardalos' script is as tight as a drum, mixing the romance, humour and ethnic complications with ease.
As a viewer, your heart will rise when she gets her man - Vardalos has laid on enough pathos at the start of the movie to make her transition to pretty, smart travel agent a cause for celebration - you will be rooting for Toula right from the start.
At the same time you will be laughing at her dad, Gus trying to cure every ailment known to man with Windex.
Her mother makes everyone feel guilty and you will laugh at the power she wields over her household.
Her father tells the family "I am the head of the house" but her mother, Maria replies "But I am the neck and I can move the head wherever I want".
So will Maria and Gus accept Ian into the family?
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
It's All About The Family, Never Mind the Bride and Groom!
Nia Vardalos should be applauded for converting her one-woman show into a movie and as a chick flick the movie works really well with the humour very much created from Toula's perceptions of her family, her romance and eventually her wedding ceremony.
It is a chick flick you can watch more than once because Toula is such a great girl. From the first scene you are willing her to find the man of her dreams and to some degree, leave behind the more oppressive elements of her Greek culture and background but even that is handled with an adept balance between the reality of being a first generation American in a Greek home and also respecting your family's tradition - Vardalos carries it off very successfully.
By the end of the movie you want to go 'Awwww' to the post-wedding scenes but you have been kept laughing right to the end.
Some critics have written that the movie should have concentrated more on the actual wedding ceremony and perhaps also developed the relationship of Toula and Ian a bit more but the movie's main job is to project the sheer 'production' of a traditional Greek wedding where it seems very likely that the bride and groom do just play supporting roles.
All in all, My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a very good movie.
Many thanks for reading.
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