"My family is big and loud, but they're my family, and they'll always be there,"
Toula Portokalos concludes with pride in Joel Zwick's MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING.
And so is the movie, a sweetheart of a film that is something like a Greek
MOONSTRUCK. The autobiographical story is written with considerable love by Nia
Vardalos, who stars as Toula, a nerdy, slightly pudgy 30-year-old woman who
initially looks to be in her mid-40s.
When we first meet Toula, she is a bespectacled waitress at her family's Greek
restaurant, "Dancing Zorba." A fatalistic spinster, she reflects in voice-over,
"I wish I had another life, but it's useless to dream because nothing ever
But after a makeover, including contacts, brighter lipstick and more fashionable
clothing, Toula becomes more optimistic. In most films, she would be
transformed into a glamorous cover girl with a hidden slender body, but not in
MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, which unabashedly reveres the beauty of a full-figured
woman. When Toula falls for a Heath Ledger look-a-like, Ian Miller (John
Corbett), while at her new job at a Greek travel agency, she becomes downright
The funny movie has few subtle moments, but it is such a charmer that you'll
never care. Veteran actors Lainie Kazan and Michael Constantine play Toula's
protective parents, Maria and Gus. Gus, who is sincere in his demand that Ian
ask permission to date his grown daughter, refuses to give his okay because Ian
isn't Greek. His recurring advice to his daughter is, "Get married. Make
babies," since "You look so old." Not only is he serious, he doesn't even
realize how out of touch his recommendation is.
Beautifully shot and scored, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING is a treat for more than
just your funny bone. It is an entertaining and good-spirited romance that
celebrates the marvelous possibilities of life. Don't be surprised if you find
yourself dancing out of the theater.
MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING runs 1:35. It is rated PG for "sensuality and
language" and would be acceptable for kids of all ages.
Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes