My Big Fat Greek Wedding [2002]

 Directed by: Joel Zwick
Written by: Nia Vardalos
Starring: Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Gia Carides, Joey Fatone, Lainie Kazan,   Michael Constantine, Louis Mandylor, Andrea Martin, Ian Gómez

There’s nothing racy or very offensive going on in MBFGW, but it’s certainly not a movie aimed at children. However (and for reasons I can’t explain) I loved it as a kid; you could say I had a mild obsession. I was a fan of Vardalos’s self-deprecating humor and the loud, warm and over-eating Portokalos family. I watched this film again after many years and, while it doesn’t bounce with the same magic that conquered me as a preteen, it has held up very well (although, for some reason, it looks way older than it actually is). I wish Nia Vardalos would make a comeback, at least to penning scripts.

Vardalos the actress overdoes it a bit, but Vardalos the writer is in top form in this enjoyable comedy, a funny look into an interethnic relationship, and an All-American professor’s attempt to gain the acceptance of his loved one’s huge, noisy, ultra-Greek family. Her biggest mistake, though, is “Costa”, father to her character of “Toula”. He’s a racist, sexist, close-minded prick but the movie is bent on showing him as endearing. Michael Constantine’s irritating portrayal doesn’t help matters. Kazan, Martin, Carides and Fatone (yes, from *NSYNC) are the standouts among the largely-unknown cast. It doesn’t have quite the same effect on me as it did 10 years ago, but the humor and lively soundtrack still make me smile like an idiot.

Fun Fact: Me and my family visited Sea World on Easter many years ago. We were riding the chairlift, and we randomly shouted “Christos Anesti!” (Christ is Risen!), as they do in the movie (1:00-2:30 in the video below).

Turns out the family going in the opposite direction, facing us, was actually Greek (or at least big MBFGW fans) and enthusiastically responded with an “Alithos Anesti!” (He Has Risen Indeed!) It was such a weird coincidence.