Blu-ray Review: ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ Still Delights 10 Years Later

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CHICAGO – It is with mixed emotions that one regards the tenth anniversary edition of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” On one hand, it evokes memories of the crowded theaters that guffawed in delight during the film’s year-long theatrical run. On the other hand, it serves as a bitter reminder of the failed career it had promised to launch.

It was through serendipitous circumstances that Nia Vardalos’s affectionate stage show about her quirky Greek family was transformed into one of the most financially successful indies of all time. On the film’s 2002 audio commentary (included on this disc), Vardalos said that it was the most difficult for her to play the sad scenes because she was so blissfully happy offscreen. Her giddy excitement proved to be infectious in the film, but in all of her subsequent screen efforts, the actress seemed to mistake a chipper demeanor for a performance.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
Blu-ray Rating: 4.0/5.0

If viewers can manage to forget “Connie and Carla,” “My Life in Ruins,” “I Hate Valentine’s Day,” the patronizing back-slap to the middle class known as “Larry Crowne,” and the horrendously awful yet mercifully short-lived series, “My Big Fat Greek Life,” they will have no trouble re-embracing the charms of Vardalos’s only worthwhile picture. It’s not great cinema, but it certainly is great, crowd-pleasing fluff. As Toula Portokalos, the lovably neurotic late-bloomer who falls for an impossibly perfect non-Greek, Ian (played by the ever-unflappable John Corbett), Vardalos exudes the mounting jubilation of a woman who can’t believe her good fortune. The hijinks are broad and bereft of subtlety, but no less funny than a first-rate sitcom on par with “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Andrea Martin is a hoot as the tart-tongued Aunt Voula, while Lainie Kazan and the adorably childlike Michael Constantine are unforgettable as Toula’s parents. Constantine’s monologue where he likens Toula and Ian’s families to apples and oranges before surmising that “we’re all fruit” must’ve been a welcome comfort to a post-9/11 America reeling from fear of “the other.” Beyond the gags and sentimental flourishes in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is a genuine sense of hopefulness about the future of a diverse America where tradition and progression can walk hand in hand down the altar.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 13th, 2012.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 13th, 2012.
Photo credit: HBO Home Entertainment

From its painfully funny opening exchange between father and daughter to a final shot that functions as an exquisitely timed punchline, TV director Joel Zwick (“Full House”) crafted a surefire winner from Vardalos’s script. Perhaps he should’ve directed all of the actress’s subsequent star vehicles. At least it would’ve been a better career move than “Fat Albert.”

“My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is presented in 1080p High Definition (with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio), accompanied by English and Spanish audio tracks and includes a brand-new half-hour retrospective interview with Vardalos and Corbett, who reminisce about their bonding experience during the 65-city press tour held during the film’s enormous box office climb (its worldwide gross totaled $368 million). Vardalos recalls that the classic running gag involving Constantine’s obsession with Windex was inspired by her own father, who insisted that the cleaning fluid had relieved him of a pesky wart. The actress’s tone becomes wistful at the end as she reflects on how the experience of making and promoting the film could never be duplicated, but she remains grateful that “it happened once.” After all, having the status of “one-hit wonder” is infinitely preferable to having no hit at all.

‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ is released by HBO Home Entertainment and stars Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Lainie Kazan, Michael Constantine, Andrea Martin, Gia Carides, Louis Mandylor and Joey Fatone. It was written by Nia Vardalos and directed by Joel Zwick. It was released on November 13th, 2012. It is rated PG.

HollywoodChicago.com staff writer Matt Fagerholm

By MATT FAGERHOLM
Staff Writer
HollywoodChicago.com
matt@hollywoodchicago.com

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