Life goes by in a blink of an eye. One second, we are young with (hopefully) years ahead of us. The next thing we know, we are middle-aged and dealing with work, family, and other daily struggles.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 is the final film in the My Big Fat Greek Wedding series. Taking place less than a year after My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, Toula (Nia Vardalos who is the star, writer, and director) is now middle-aged. She and her husband Ian (John Corbett) are as madly in love as the day they married. Their college-age daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris) is growing up and dealing with adult problems.
Her mother, Maria (Lainie Kazan) is getting on in years. Her father Kostas (the late Michael Constantine) has passed on. His last wish was to return to his native Greece and the village he was raised in. Toula’s goal is to find her father’s childhood best friends and bring them together for one last blowout. But given the distance of time and memory, it will not be an easy feat to accomplish.
We all have that crazy relative. They are probably a bit on the older side. As much as we may love them, we don’t always follow what they are saying as gospel. That does not mean, however, that there isn’t a nugget of wisdom under the perceived nonsense.
Aunt Voula (Andrea Martin) is one of the more out-there characters within this universe. She is determined to see her great-niece, Paris, romantically settled. If Voula had her way, Aristotle (Elias Kacavas) would have him as her nephew by marriage. But Paris and Aristotle’s date went horribly wrong and she has no interest in seeing him again.
It is groan-inducing for both Paris and the audience when he conveniently appears on the plane. Voula claims that he is there to be a guide. But it is obvious why he is joining them for this trip.
What made the first movie universal is that we can all relate to the characters. In this final narrative, Toula is no longer a spring chicken. Sandwiched between her teenage daughter and her aging mother, the number of balls she has in the air made my head spin.
The one thing I related to most was Toula’s relationship with her father. Like many parents, he was imperfect. But his affection for his children was undeniable. My own parents are now in their 70s and dealing with the health implications of getting older. While we are growing up, we don’t notice that our parents are also getting older. It is only in the last ten years or so that have I realized how quickly time has flown by.
A Message About Immigration and Acceptance
One of the ongoing themes of the series is tolerance. Vardalos folds into the screenplay the plight of the Syrian refugees in Greece and the attitude of the Greek people towards the new arrivals. Without revealing spoilers, she forces everyone involved (both on and off-screen) to look at their own prejudices.
This B-side narrative parallels Toula and Ian’s courtship twenty years earlier and the barriers that stood in the way of their own happily ever after. And like their relationship, the ones surrounding them realized that the wise choice was to accept their loved one’s partner instead of driving them both away.
Though My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 lacks the luster of its predecessors, it retains the charm and humor that made the franchise what it is. Vardalos’s tale of family and receptiveness is one that we can all relate to, regardless of the country of origin that our forebears came from.
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