I love the very first movie in this franchise. It skillfully tells a cultural story of familial love with an albeit predictable story, but its heart is undeniable. The second installment comes across as a weak idea, further derailed by lazy rehashes of attempted humor from the first film, and has no real, tangible stakes. As for this third installment, franchise creator, writer, and director Nia Vardalos has an inspired idea for a premise but needs the filmmaking skills to pull it off.
Vardalos returns as Toula Portakalos, now a mother of a college-age young woman and wife to a loving husband, who must now cope with the sad loss of her beloved father and patriarch of the Portakalos family. Amongst her father’s dying wishes is that the family should travel to their mother country of Greece. Toula rounds up several family members to join her, her husband Ian (John Corbett), and their daughter Elena (Elena Kampouris) to see her father’s wishes to fruition. Of course, things don’t exactly go to plan, but their vacation/pilgrimage results in another wedding celebration.
Written, directed by, and starring Nia Vardalos, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 is a very frustrating movie and an utter disappointment, despite the inspired ideas, which are much more interesting than the franchise’s last movie. The lack of genuine conflict, the overly redundant callbacks to the first movie’s humor, and the poor direction result in a very messy and weak film. While the movie looks gorgeous, the weak direction, terrible writing, and terrible editing derail what could have been a solid installment.
As for the cast, the actors appear like they could portray these characters in their sleep. They all perform fine enough, but the writing never allows them to shine brightly. As I watched this movie play out, I could envision a slightly better film had it been handled by someone else. I like Nia Vardalos and enjoyed her sweet and heartwarming glimpse into her experiences in the first movie. Still, the following chapters cannot offer audiences anything but more of the same in some poorly conceived and realized further chapters.
I cannot recommend My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 for either theatrical viewing or as a streaming movie at home. I can only hope this will be this franchise’s final sequel because this series has run out of steam.