Review by Camden Ferrell
It has been over 20 years since the release of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, a sleeper hit that went on to be nominated for an Oscar against all odds. Even as someone who didn’t care for the original, I can still recognize it has its distinct charm and established niche in American cinema. However, I can’t say the same for its 2016 sequel and even less so for this year’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3. Directed by star and writer of the franchise, Nia Vardalos, this third installment is an undeniable mess of a movie. It features puzzling and erratic pacing as well as an overstuffed and rushed story that creates a film devoid of its own signature charm and appeal.
Constantine, the patriarch of the family, has passed away. He leaves behind his ailing wife and the rest of his family including our protagonist Toula. To satisfy his dying wish, Toula and her family set off on a trip to Greece in order to visit her dad’s village and honor his memory at a local reunion. In Greece, she learns more about her father, her family, and herself all while trying to track down her father’s best friends. This is a sweet premise that could have been a nice sendoff for the family while also telling an endearing and funny story of family, but this film chooses to pile on unnecessary subplots and weird comedic moments instead.
Written yet again by Vardalos, this is easily the worst script of the series. The prior entries were fairly standard romantic comedies that were conventional to a fault but still had a noticeable identity. It’s genuinely hard to believe this film came from that same writer. There’s no charm or personality, and all of the characters have devolved into even more of a caricature. The transition from scene to scene feels completely unnatural and disorganized, and it fails to even work as a comedy most of the time. It takes countless attempts at humor and comes up short far too often.
The only thing that is remotely consistent with the rest of the franchise is its acting. This series has never been known for its performances, but they’re usually at least bearable. While there are some cringy acting moments in this third movie, it’s still bearable as a whole. It’s harmless more than anything. And I can’t really fault them considering the weak material with which they were provided.
This is Vardalos’ second time directing, and it’s clear she still needs more practice. The pacing for this movie was abysmal, and it was bewildering how these problems got past so many sets of eyes. Jokes are frequently cut short or drawn out. Edits are wildly and erratically placed. This problem is significantly exacerbated by the several subplots that come and go as they please, and the movie has a hard time keeping up with whatever’s going on.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 might still please fans looking for a fun time, but it feels unfinished and lacks the fun family dynamic the series has become known for. Many might notice the effects of certain cast members being underutilized, and the lack of cohesion can turn off genre-enthusiasts. If this is the last that we see of this family, it’s a shame they couldn’t receive a better send-off.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 is in theaters September 8.