For the Portokaloses, family is everything. Even when important members are no longer with us.
You see, Toula’s father, Gus, has passed away. And his last wish was that the family return to his childhood village, Vrisi, in Greece, to reconnect with their roots. The family has also received an invitation from the area to return for a town reunion. That’s great news for Toula, since she’d really like to pass along her late father’s journal of memories to his childhood friends.
But when they finally arrive in Vrisi, well … there’s not much reuniting going on. The town’s population? A total of six. The town’s mayor? It’s a young woman named Victory, who was elected via a single vote and turns out to be a distant cousin.
Victory sent out the invitations in the hope of repopulating Vrisi. She thinks that when people will return to the village, they’ll realize how lovely it is and stay. But the Portokaloses were the only ones who came.
Is that a speedbump on Toula’s journey to give away the journal? Sure. But the nice thing about big fat Greek families is that they’ll help you over that speedbump—some ouzo required.
Despite the distance and the difficulty of the request, Toula honors her father’s wishes and heads to Greece with her family. And while she and her family are there, they do connect with their culture. Likewise, many of Gus’ children reflect on their father’s childhood, coming to a deeper love of him through visiting where Gus once lived.
But none of them can deny the feeling that despite how close the family is, they’ve all felt a bit scattered ever since Gus died. Likewise, Gus’ wife, Maria, is slowly developing dementia. And that hard circumstance leaves family members wondering how they should deal with that new reality.
This franchise has always emphasized the importance of family, and this third movie asserts that family doesn’t end just because a loved one has passed on. In fact, Gus’ final wish brings the family closer together. Reflecting on the man’s life brings Toula and others a lot of joy as they consider his life and legacy—and the children take a moment to mourn Gus before celebrating the impact he had on them. In that way, it additionally feels like a very fitting farewell to Michael Constantine, the late actor who played Gus.
A couple of Toula’s sisters believe in Greek voodoo, and they try to convince Toula’s daughter, Paris, of its benefits despite her lack of belief. They attempt to give her an “evil eye” to protect her, and they put other voodoo-based items under her pillow in the belief that those trinkets will help Paris discover for whom her heart longs.
The family spreads Gus’ ashes, which are kept in an urn with a cross on it. Someone makes friends with a monk. Victory toasts to “living your truth.”
Victory, we learn, identifies as nonbinary. When Toula’s sister, Voula, asks if Victory likes to wear boys or girls clothes, Victory responds “Both. And neither.” And later, when a wedding separates dancing men into one line and dancing women into another, Victory dances on both sides. We also hear a reference to a gay relationship, and we see a pride flag in the background of a scene. Voula explains to Victory that her daughter has divorced twice, and her son is gay, so she understands “alternative lifestyles.”
Some members of the family go to a nude beach, where background characters’ critical bits are angled away from the camera or obscured strategically by various items. Regardless, we do see a few peoples’ bare rears from the side. Paris strips down as she gets into the water, and her uncle Nick stands on the beach holding a small bottle of wine to cover himself. We also see Nick disrobe, and his critical anatomy is covered by a nearby plant.
A couple of characters frequently wear a cooking apron that depicts the breasts of the nude sculpture Venus de Milo. Nick frequently shaves; at one point, we’re told that he’s shaving his pubic hair in public.
A woman commands a young man and woman eat, saying that the reason the man’s rear and the woman’s breasts are small is because they don’t eat enough (all while she grabs the aforementioned body parts of the two). She says that a spouse needs “love handles” to hold on to. After Toula and her husband, Ian, kiss, someone says that they should “have sex on Easter like everyone else.”
Paris and her romantic interest Aristotle were supposed to go on a date, but Paris ghosts him, causing Voula to tell the two to “make up and make out.” Someone references frequently making out when she was in college. Paris and Aristotle passionately kiss, causing Paris’ aunt to say, “No babies until you graduate from college.”
Nick showers, though nothing is seen. Men and women are seen in swimsuits, and other men are seen shirtless, too. Various women wear outfits that reveal cleavage.
“H—” is used once. God’s name is used in vain three times. Jesus’ name is inappropriately used three times.
Many characters drink alcohol throughout the film. Toula and Voula are given many drinks by friendly merchants, and they both come back to Vrisi intoxicated. We later see Toula grappling with her hangover. Likewise, Paris and Aristotle drink at a nightclub, and Aristotle is later seen hungover. Someone asks to go into town to drink.
We hear a reference to using Greek yogurt for an enema. Aristotle belches.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 may not be as focused on weddings as its predecessors (though, yes, a wedding does still take place), but it still has a whole lot to say about the importance of family.
The first film told us that family isn’t dependent on your background. The second one reminded us of the importance of marriage and commitment to clan. And My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 tells us that family doesn’t end just because someone has died.
The film pays homage to family patriarch Gus, as well as Michael Constantine, the late actor who portrayed him. Many scenes illustrate the positive impact that Gus had on the extended family. Other scenes subtly remind us of his role in fathering and grandfathering the other characters.
I wish that I could end this review there. But unfortunately, the third installment of the series also comes with a big fat jump in sexual content, too. To that end, viewers hear a lot of crude remarks, endure a visit to a nude beach (where characters are covered only by clever camerawork) and meet a character who identifies as nonbinary.
That disappointing sexual content undermines what otherwise is a pretty sweet movie. And for many families, it may just be more content than you want to navigate.
Kennedy Unthank studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He knew he wanted to write for a living when he won a contest for “best fantasy story” while in the 4th grade. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that he was the only person to submit a story. Regardless, the seed was planted. Kennedy collects and plays board games in his free time, and he loves to talk about biblical apologetics. He doesn’t think the ending of Lost was “that bad.”