MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING
Celebrating One’s Heritage
Release Date: April 19, 2002
Starring: Nia Vardalos, John Corbett,
Michael Constantine, Lainie
Kazan, Andrea Martin, and Joey
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 95 minutes
Distributor: Gold Circle Films and Home Box
Director: Joel Zwick
Executive Producer: Norm Watts, Paul Brooks and
Producer: Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks and
Writer: Nia Vardalos
Address Comments To:Jeff Bewkes, Chairman/CEO
2049 Century Park East, 41st Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Phone: (310) 201-9300
At 30, frumpy Toula Portokalos still lives with her parents and works at her father’s Greek restaurant, Dancing Zorba’s, in the Greek section of Chicago. One day, Ian Miller, a handsome teacher from a small local college, comes into the restaurant, and Toula is smitten. With help from her mother and her aunt, who runs a travel agency, she convinces her father to let her attend some computer classes and, eventually, to exchange places with one of her cousins who now works at the agency with his mother. Toula also gives herself a physical makeover. She meets Ian again, and the two secretly begin a romantic relationship. This is surely bound to upset her traditional-minded father, who thinks his daughter should marry a Greek man and have Greek babies. The rest of the story tells how Toula and Ian manage to soften her father’s heart and incorporate Ian into the family, including the family’s Greek Orthodox faith.
It is clear in this movie that Toula and Ian are not particularly religious. There is, in fact, one scene of implied fornication before Ian proposes marriage to her. That said, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING is a celebration of Toula’s family heritage, including its Greek Orthodox background. Thus, the movie has a nominal Christian worldview and even includes a baptism scene where Ian gets baptized. As such, the movie has a warm-hearted attitude toward Toula’s heritage and includes many funny, charming moments.
Its story structure could use a little bit of help, however. More attention should have been paid toward developing a stronger sense of conflict in the story.
Except for one strong, slightly garbled profanity from Ian, the foul language is relatively mild. MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING also contains a sequence of implied fornication and the stereotypical drinking of plenty of ouzo, an alcoholic drink brought over to America by Greek immigrants. These things and the movie’s fear of making a total commitment to Christianity merit a caution for older children. The movie is meant to be enjoyed more by older teenagers and adults anyway, so this judgment seems a fair one. Of course, making fair judgments is one of the most important moral principles outlined in God’s Word, the Bible. That, too, is a part of the Christian heritage in the Greek Orthodox church and all other Christian denominations worthy of the Name of Christ. What a delight it is to celebrate that heritage whenever we can. And, the best way to celebrate our Christian heritage is to live our lives by that heritage.
Although it is clear that Toula and Ian are not super-religious, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING is a warm-hearted, often amusing celebration of Toula’s family heritage, including its Greek Orthodox Christian background. There is even a baptism scene where Ian gets baptized. MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING also contains, however, a moderate amount of mostly light foul language, a short sequence of implied pre-marital sex and the stereotypical drinking of an alcoholic drink brought over to America by Greek immigrants.