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My Big Fat Greek Wedding

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Starring: Nia Vardalos, John Corbett
Director: Joel Zwick
Rated: PG
RunTime: 95 Minutes
Release Date: April 2002
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Andrea Martin, Lainie Kazan, Michael Constantine, Gia Carides, Louis Mandylor, Joey Fatone

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Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

Chicago's "Second City" alumna Nia Vardalos has adapted her critically acclaimed, autobiographical, one-woman show into a human comedy that strikes a universal chord. As the story begins, Vardalos plays Toula, a frumpy 30 year-old virgin, working in her father's Greek restaurant. "You better get married soon," he says. "You're looking old." Since childhood, her parents (Michael Constantine, Lainie Kazan) have told her that Greek girls have just three duties in life: marry Greek boys, make Greek babies and feed everyone. But it's not that easy. Toula's a big, gawky Greek in a world of tiny, blond Barbies. Realizing she's stuck in a rut, Toula enrolls in a computer class at a nearby college. She also puts on some makeup, buys fashionable clothes, discovers contact lenses and lands a job in her aunt's travel agency. Meanwhile, she's caught the eye of a tall, handsome, WASP-y school teacher, Ian Miller (John Corbett of TV's "Sex and the City"). He's a god, all right, but he's not Greek. And that causes complications. Her proud, Zorba-like father considers any non-Greek a "xenos," a foreigner, and - what's worse - Ian's a vegetarian. It's the classic Pygmalion story with some ethnocentric culture clash tossed in, but it works. Why? Because director Joel Zwick and the talented actors keep it very specific and true, reminiscent of "Moonstruck," with lines like: "The family will always be a big part of who you are, but don't let it limit who you become." The Portokalos family may be boisterously Greek but they could also be Italian, Irish, Hispanic or Jewish. Behind-the-scenes, this project was propelled by producers Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, who swears the family resembles her own. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" is a gleeful, joyous 8. It's a delectable confection.

Copyright 2002 Susan Granger

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