At this point, anyone who goes into the sequel of a decades-old comedy expecting it to rival the original ought to have their head checked. After “Anchorman 2,” “Dumb and Dumber To” and “Zoolander 2” each spent more time paying homage to the original as opposed to breaking from it, perhaps the best audiences can hope for is something that does not spoil the legacy. As sad a thought as setting the bar low might be, at least it can help mitigate the disaster.
Thankfully, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” seems to avoid most of the pitfalls of the previously mentioned films. The answer to the question of “is it better than the original?” is, of course, no. But to “is it good enough?” Yes, it pretty much is.
Writer and star Nia Vardalos brings back all the familial tensions, marriage anxieties and Windex that people loved in her unexpected 2002 smash hit comedy while also leaving plenty of room for new jokes and humor. It might not flow as effortlessly the second time around, but the characters show impressively few signs of rust after 14 years.
The chief difference in the film is that Vardalos’ Toula is now on the other side of marriage and courtship. After the ordeal that was tying the knot with a non-Greek “xeno,” she must now contend with her teenage daughter, ironically named Paris (Elena Kampouris), reaching the age where the Portokalos family deems her ready to waltz down the aisle. But, in a twist similar to “Father of the Bride – Part II,” she winds up dealing with an unexpected life course event from some older relatives.
The antics of the family, who remarkably all returned for the sequel, remain consistently hilarious. Even if they do not reach the instantly quotable levels of the original “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” Vardalos can still deliver the lines and the laughs. She wisely embraces just how many deep cuts there were in the first film, making some references that only the die-hard fans who watched the movie a hundred times on HBO and TBS will catch. (Guilty as charged.) Watching as she continues to mine these characters for humorous moments remains a delight – certainly enough to redeem the occasional plot contrivance or corny line. B+ /