My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 REVIEW – Third Time’s Not A Charm

Here we go again.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3

It’s really quite surprising that it’s taken the My Big Fat Greek Wedding series so long to actually set one of its films in Greece. The Portokalos family are back once again in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3, and this time, they’ve finally gone international.

After the death of her father Gus, Toula (Nia Vardalos), her husband Ian (John Corbett) and most of their relatives return to Greece for a family reunion. Heading back to the village where her father grew up, Toula plans to find his childhood friends and give them a journal her father kept over the years. It’s a plausible enough premise, but one that really only exists to get the Portokalos family to Greece.

Shot on location in Athens and Corfu, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 treats its audience to a cinematic vacation, as it does its characters. And while Barry Peterson’s cinematography does manage to capture some of the country’s beautiful scenery, it’s always in conflict with the abundance of cheap stock footage used for many of the film’s establishing shots. Undoubtedly, audiences won’t be rushing to cinemas for spectacular visuals here, or much else for that matter, but it does seem a shame that even when set in such a beautiful location, the film doesn’t take full advantage of its picturesque surroundings.

Instead, what will more likely entice audiences back to the big screen, if anything, are the rowdy Portokalos brood themselves, as well as the charming cast who play them. And credit where it’s due, they are largely what keeps this threequel at least somewhat watchable. Vardalos, who also writes and directs, and Corbett are still likeable enough leads, but it’s always been the larger ensemble that’s been the films’ real appeal. The likes of Andrea Martin as Aunt Voula and Louis Mandylor as Toula’s brother Nick are reliably amusing, as far as the screenplay allows them that is. However, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 really misses the presence of the Portokalos matriarch, Lainie Kazan’s Maria. Sadly, she’s relegated to just a couple of scenes at home in Chicago and misses out on all the antics in Greece, and her absence is truly felt.

Back in Greece the story unfolds in an unhurried fashion as Toula continues her search while various other meandering side plots develop. The film adopts the slow pace of a lazy holiday, which may hope to relax its audience, but unfortunately has the opposite effect, instead creating a more restless atmosphere for its viewers. This is only further exacerbated by the film’s feeble comedic efforts, which come across more awkward and try-hard than anything else. There are a few fleeting instances of fun to be had, but apparently this time around they forgot to pack the more natural humour and charisma of the original film.

When My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 focuses more on its tried and tested sentimental family drama, it’s admittedly quite sweet. The screenplay’s attempts to include some wider discussions around such subjects as refugees and gender identity though, while well-intentioned, are just too surface level to warrant any kind of praise. Subsequently, it risks becoming saccharine far too often and exposes the painfully obvious fact that this is a franchise all out of ideas. So much so that the only one left worth exploring, is a big fat Greek retirement.

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My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3
No amount of Windex can fix My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3, which is yet another disappointing sequel in a series that has truly worn out its welcome.