Monday, September 11, 2023


 by Adam Riske

Only for the die-hards.

Part threes in a film series are interesting. You can usually predict the course of a part two which is to go bigger, but part threes path is dependent on how part two fared. Is the franchise still building momentum and necessitating an epic finale or is the series the victim of diminishing returns and the creatives involved are bleeding the property dry? I often prefer part threes because you can get weird and become more insular. At that point the audience is the audience. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 is a prime example.
The pleasure of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 for me is returning to characters I love. The Portokalos family & friends could be doing almost anything and I’ll have a good enough time. Many people will watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 and accuse it of being sloppy and meandering and they’re not wrong, but in my head I’ll think ‘Yeah but John Corbett is on the beach and he looks like he’s having a great time so who gives a shit because that’s what’s more important and stop talking to me about My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 because clearly you aren’t the right person for me to debrief about it with.’ This is a movie that has a running joke about water in a shower being too cold. The Portokalos family & friends could be doing almost anything and I’ll have a good enough time.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 is massively stretching to find a reason to exist other than for the cast to get together and hang out in Greece (which films beautifully; I heard this movie described as Mamma Mia! without the singing and that’s pretty spot on). The hook this time is Gus (the late, great Michael Constantine) has passed away and the family decides to visit his birthplace in Greece after being invited there for a family reunion. What’s that got to do with a wedding you might wonder? Good question, because the movie shoehorns in two new random characters in Greece as the bride and groom. We learn almost nothing about them because the movie cares a lot more about the Portokalos in Greece shenanigans.

Writer-lead actor Nia Vardalos takes over as director this time out, and while she knows this material and these characters comprehensively (this franchise originated as her own one woman show), her strengths to date are not in helming a movie (her other feature is the 2009 romantic comedy I Hate Valentine’s Day which reunited her with Corbett and is…. something). Vardalos, wearing so many different hats this time, acts amiably as host. Corbett is his affable, goofy self as always. Louis Mandylor and Andrea Martin score laughs here and there. The new characters are largely forgettable, save for a spirited Melina Kotselou as the town mayor. But what really hurts the movie is that we’re missing other key characters. The loss of Michael Constantine is felt since he was the MVP of most of his scenes in the first two movies. Lainie Kazan is sidelined for an odd plot device where she’s suffering from memory loss (I’m not sure if the actor is in failing health but that -- or scheduling conflicts -- are the only reason I can think of for her limited participation this time) and we don’t get nearly enough of the fun cousin duo played by Gia Carides and Joey Fatone until the third act.
By the end of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 it’s clear that the well has run drier than dry but it seems like they might keep this thing going since there’s no sense of finality to the proceedings. If they were asking me for advice, I would recommend moving the future events of the Portokalos’s to television or streaming. This franchise was always sitcomy (which I don’t say as a pejorative) and in fact was once a sitcom (the short lived My Big Fat Greek Life, which lasted 7 episodes in 2003), but I think all the fans really want now from this franchise are subplots like the water in the shower is too cold.


  1. I saw you guested on the Dorking Out podcast, so I must get around to seeing at least the first one (I love your guest appearances there). I know you've been mentioning it fondly for years now!

    1. I did! It was a fun show. I think we recorded that a year or two ago. Hope you like the movie if you end up watching it.

    2. Oh, yes, finally the Dorking Out episode was a re-run (they're on holidays). I watched MBFGW 1 and enjoyed it a lot! It was funny and I really liked how sweet their romance was. They really just stick by each other the whole time, rather than follow the typical romantic comedy formula of fall in love, have a big disagreement/fight, then make up by the end.