The first reviews for My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 are disappointing. Although the reviews are not all bad, this is certainly not the ending to the My Big Fat Greek Wedding movie franchise we were all hoping for.
The end of the second film set Toula and Ian to be empty nesters. They are ready to explore a different kind of family adventure once their daughter leaves for university. Here’s a recap on the My Big Fat Greek Wedding films, if you need a refresher. Nia Vardalos writes, directs and stars in the film, with most of the original cast returning.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 takes an entirely different turn, as the Portokalos clan heads to Greece for a giant family reunion. The film takes place after the death of Toula’s father, Gus. The actor who played Gus, Michael Constantine, died in 2021. One of Gus’s dying wishes was for his handwritten journal to be given to his childhood friends. So Toula goes to Greece to fulfil his wish, and to bury her father’s ashes in his hometown. Half of the extended family decides to join her for a holiday, while the other half stay in America with Maria (Toula’s mother) who is unable to travel.
It’s a N’Opa from The New York Times
The New York Times’s Amy Nicholson writes “The script functions like a recipe for its own opening shot of baklava; flattened and bland, Toula exists only to constrain the nuts.” The story has too many plot holes to be either believable or funny. Toula, a former travel agent, books flights for her family to visit Greece. She organises the trip, but forgets to book a hotel. And somehow, in a remote village in Greece, there are people who speak better English than the family who has lived in America for decades.
Slant Magazine has more positive things to say
Slant Magazine disagrees, calling the film “a surprisingly emotional trip home” to Greece. The film is filled with the kind of embarrassing family mishaps we’ve come to expect from the Portokalos family. After a disastrous first year at New York University, Paris is mortified to find that Aunt Voula has hired Aristotle as her assistant. Paris and Aristotle had been on a date before she ghosted him. Now the interfering Voula is trying to set them up again, saying “deciding to be friends is for when you find out that you’re dating your cousin”. In twenty years, Aunt Voula hasn’t changed a bit. The main difference in the third movie, is that the film is shot on location in Greece.
The film’s Greek casting and location is praised by IndieWire
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 “relies too heavily on its stunning Corfu scenery instead of an actual plot” writes IndieWire’s Samantha Bergeson. Over twenty years after the release of the film, Vardalos has exhausted the franchise. The main laughs of the film, IndieWire notes, are from cousins Angelo and Nikki, “who literally save the day and deliver the most laughs”. Meanwhile, the aged jokes of Ian’s non-Greekness, and Nick’s shaving at the dinner table quickly grow old. Although the story falls flat, Vardalos is praised for casting Greek talent in the film, and curating an ensemble cast that works well together.
The Hollywood Reporter can’t wait for the reunion to end
Frank Scheck at The Hollywood Reporter calls the film “mostly painless”. Likening the film to “a family reunion you had no desire to attend”, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 is fun for a while, but then you just want to go home. Filled with beautiful scenery, an inter-racial romance and aged jokes, there is “a genuine sweetness at the core” of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3.
The Guardian gives My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 two stars
The Guardian’s Jesse Hassenger notes that “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 has a vast river of sadness running beneath its kooky surface, and Vardalos (who wrote and directed this instalment) doesn’t seem to know how, or whether, to tap into it”. Whether it’s an attempt to keep the light-hearted tone of the previous movies, or just an unwillingness to explore the sadness of the real-life passing of Constantine, it seems that the film fails to find its footing.
The film is full of wasted potential, confirms Variety
Variety calls the third movie “surprisingly lifeless and almost laugh-less.” Disappointingly, Toula spends little time in the spotlight during My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3, opting to focus on the far less interesting supporting characters. The family becomes less funny with each passing moment, and we’re left to wonder why there aren’t more interesting conflicts and storylines written into the script. With its rich cultural heritage, colourful family characters and incredible Greek backdrop, the film had so much potential. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 could have been an evolution of Toula’s self-empowerment but instead the trilogy ends “with a shrug of resignation”.
Despite the less than glowing reviews, if you enjoyed the previous movies and the Portokalos family drama then you’ll probably enjoy My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 as well. It might not be a cinematic great, but it’s a few hours of ridiculous, light-hearted fun.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 is now available to watch in UK cinemas.