11 April 2004 | vertigo_14
A simple story about a girl in love.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a very simple, funny romance story that would probably be most appreciated by female audiences.
Nia Vardalos (the film's writer and star) is Toula Portokalos, a quiet young woman from a zany Greek family. As she explains in the great flashback introduction, all her life she has been brought up to be strictly Greek. But, the same upbringing also contains some traditional absuridites that she can't understand, although her parent's wish that she would adhere to. Toula's upbringing has only allowed her to look forward to one thing at this point in her life: get married to a nice Greek boy and have lots of babies.
This is not something Toula wants to here, and eventually, she gains the courage to break out of her introverted shield and gradually change herself into a bold, lovely woman. She stops working at her family's resturaunts and starts taking computer classes at the local college, which lead her not only to a better appreciation for herself, but leads to a job at her aunt's travel agency where she meets Ian Miller (Jon Corbet), and that is where our story begins.
Toula and Ian are in love, really very much so. But, this troubles Toula's mother and father, with her father (Michael Constantine) being more strict in traditional Greek upbringing than her mother (Lanie Kazan), when Ian proposes to Toula. For Toula's father, it is bad enough that she quit the family business to go to school and everything. But it is simply out of the question for him that she marry a non-Greek. So, Toula is torn between the two. This is a movie very much in the spirit of films like Bend it Like Beckham and somewhat like the Joy Luck Club in addressing roles of tradition in future generations of immigrants and the possibility and reason for preservation of such traditions.
Of course the film is a very simple movie, a simple love story, but a funny one nonetheless. We see the contrast between Toula's Greek upbringing, and Ian's very quiet, conservative family. Everyone was fantastic in this film, especially Lainie Kazan as Toula's mom, Michael Constantine as her father, and the wonderfully hilarious Andrea Martin as Toula's Aunt Voula.
I don't know the reason for so many negative reviews for this movie. I would say it was probably the best movie I saw in 2002, and one that I have seen many times since just because it a lovely little (and funny) story about a girl in love.