My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Nia Vardalos is the Greek Molly Shannon, and that's exciting, because every culture needs a wise, warm, but somewhat dorky heroine who can make believeable ugly duckling transitions with striking but not overbearing intelligence and wit.

I had forgotten almost everything I ever learned from my Greek neighbours while growing up, but one look inside the Portokalos home brought it all back. I don't even know how to articulate it, and I assume the prop people didn't bother. They probably just filmed on location.

I agree with the critics who say the romance itself lacks passion after a certain point, but I think that works out well, especially with this cultural viewpoint. When a wedding gets etched on the calendar, forget the marriage. It's all about building the better "snow beast" in tulle and sequins and as many matching bridesmaid gowns as budgets and social obligations allow. Just assume the romance and get on with the care and feeding of the eleventh cousins.

We don't see enough Lainie Kazan these days and we sure as hell don't see enough Andrea Martin. Aunt Voula is her role. No more of this "I know she's talented but where to stick her?" Let her play the funny roles straight and non-screeching, but with screeching implied.

I wasn't sure this was the best movie to see on my birthday, in the last hours of technically still being thirty-two. I have a variation of the WASP-toast family described in the film. I sometimes wish I had a throbbing mass of nearby relations with which to form a clear group identity, where everyone is constantly eating and probing instead of just during the holidays. I sometimes wish I had a religion decorated with gorgeous icons, heady perfume, and a pleasant patter of superstitions on the side, although I suppose the images from the Hubble telescope are pretty satisfying these days. I sometimes wish I could have a big foofy wedding, with people I've known for ages dressed up and sniffling and chowing down, instead of the economical, geographical civil-service-for-two I'm surely destined for should I ever walk that path.

That said, it was a sweet and zippy little flick. I'm glad the baklava is warm out there somewhere. Ouzo on.

27 September 2002 |






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