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Movie Review

Things haven't changed all that much for Ian and Toula. They're still married, and that's good! They're a bit older. A little gray is creeping in. But they're still in love. And they're still very close with Toula's Greek family.

OK, maybe they're a little too close.

With Toula's overbearing clan there's often no line at all between an enthusiastic hug and a well-intentioned smother. But they make it through. And for Toula's part, she's doing her best to use a lighter touch with their 17-year-old daughter, Paris.

That's not to say the job is easy. Insulating a teen girl from relatives who tell her she'd better get a good Greek husband soon before her "eggs go bad" can be a chore. And the fact that, on the other side of the coin, Paris is seriously thinking of escaping it all and leaving Chicago to go out of state for college is difficult for a mom to handle.

Of course, there's always something going on in the extended Portokalos family to take one's mind off little things like ... normal life. This time around, Toula's dad, Gus, discovers that he and matriarch Maria aren't legally married thanks to an unsigned marriage certificate.

What starts out as a family chuckle soon devolves into a grimace as the elderly pair concludes that they've been "living in sin" for the last 50 years. And that triggers an enraged tug and pull over a proper proposal, who now has to sleep on the couch, who's doing whose laundry, and other stubborn silliness.

Those kooky, crazy Greek families, right?

It must be time for another big fat Greek wedding.

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Positive Elements

Through Gus and Maria's struggles, the film raises questions about the many directions people go and the choices they make in life, then ultimately reaffirms the importance of marriage and family. "Marriage is not for everybody," Maria says. "But it's worked out for me." Ian and Toula strengthen that statement by symbolically recommitting to their own marriage vows.

For all of the Portokalos family's smothering tendencies, Ian and Toula make it clear that they want Paris to have the freedom to grow into her own person and learn to make wise choices for herself. Toula defends her "crazy family" when several neighbor ladies get critical.

Spiritual Content

The Portokalos family members are regular churchgoers. And Gus and Maria are "officially" married by a priest in a Greek Orthodox ceremony.

Sexual Content

Several women reveal cleavage or lots of leg with their outfits—sometimes as a purposeful attention-getter. For example, after meeting a handsome news anchor at church, one lady pulls the zipper down on her tight sweater.

Aunt Voula suggests ways for Toula to "spice up" her marriage: "hot dates," sexier dresses and makeup, shaving "everything." Toula and Ian follow through on some of that advice, and we see them start to make out and undress each other in the car. (They're soon interrupted by, of course, the rest of the family.)

Cousin Angelo admits to family members that he's gay (keeping it pretty low key by saying that a colleague is his partner and his partner). Later he introduces the guy to his welcoming parents. A number of sly sexual jokes are scattered throughout the dialogue, ranging from giggles about elderly women's body hair and parts, to comments about the size and potency of men's sexual organs. Paris' grandmother uses Greek euphemisms to refer to the girl's private parts. Gus' older brother calls Aunt Voula "hot."

Violent Content

While helping out at school, Toula is hit in the face and knocked down by a volleyball. She also trips and smashes her glasses.

Crude or Profane Language

When he's not poking somebody else in the crotch, cousin Nick is regularly commenting about freezing his "nads" or hitting his "nuts."

Drug and Alcohol Content

Wine and spirits flow freely at the wedding reception, a few family events and even the hair salon. Kids mimic the adults' toss-back-a-shot drinking habits with Gatorade. A pair of long-estranged brothers start drinking shots of Ouzo and get visibly tipsy. A couple of relatives pass an open bottle of booze back and forth after a nerve-racking experience.

Other Negative Elements

Toula stuffs her mouth with peanuts before being told that old guys had sucked the chocolate off of them. Gus gets stuck in a bathtub. (We see him from the chest up.)

Conclusion

Fourteen years after the original surprise hit splattered the screen like a big syrupy pan of baklava, My Big Fat Greek Wedding finally gets a sequel. And this pic packed with character-driven slapstick comes off pretty much exactly as you might expect it to. Toula and her kin are just as bold and brassy as you remember, just as warm and welcoming. The performers here play their parts to the "give me a hug, you!" hilt, all managing to be lovable and just slightly obnoxious at the same time. And so the film takes on the vibe of, well, a really big family's collection of homemade videos.

You know what I mean: The storyline rambles and sometimes just stops to pose for a selfie or two. There are corny in-jokes and eye-roll gags that will make a few folks in your clan spit out their sodas as they slap their legs. And the rambunctious fare is sometimes sweet, oftentimes hokey and altogether pretty silly. Well, harmlessly silly except when the subtle but still sexual wink-winks slide though and make old Uncle Mort elbow somebody in the ribs.

But just like those home movies, something special peeks through in the end. There's a love and appreciation here of family, whether big and Greek or big and some other sort. There's a reminder that making it through the ups and downs of marriage, supporting one another, raising good kids and building a life together, those things are still all well worth the effort. And that's a big fat moral to the story that you don't always get from Hollywood these days.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Content Caution

Kids
Teens
Adults

Credits

Rating

PG-13

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Nia Vardalos as Toula; John Corbett as Ian; Michael Constantine as Gus; Lainie Kazan as Maria; Andrea Martin as Aunt Voula; Joey Fatone as Angelo; Elena Kampouris as Paris; Louis Mandylor as Nick

Director

Kirk Jones ( Everybody's FineNanny McPhee)

Distributor

Universal

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

March 25, 2016

On Video

June 21, 2016

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Bob Hoose

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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