11 April 2016

My Big Fat Waste Of Time

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My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a little like that boring couple that you meet whilst on holiday. I didn't like them at the time and I never wanted to see them again. It's been fourteen years since that film was released and in all honesty I figured that the world had completely forgotten about it. What was its story again? I'm guessing the title is a clue but in terms of details, that movie has disappeared from memory like a fart in the wind. I mean, 2002 was a long time ago and a lot has happened since then. Mickey Rourke has gone through more faces than a two-headed Scooby Doo villain; Woody Allen has made over thirty-five comeback movies; and the world's economy performed an unbeatable tribute to Princess Diana by crashing hard. Throughout enduring all of that chaos though, I don't remember a single person asking for a sequel to the original movie. Then again nor do I remember anybody asking for several outbreaks of foot and mouth disease over the last decade. However like a field full of burning, diseased farm animals, we're now faced with the reality of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 and as with both cases I found myself compelled to pop along to experience the devastation.

I feel I should sum up the plot for you-- but I don't know any of the characters names and lets face it.. you probably don't either. So for reference there's Nia Vardalos who was the main character in the first film and that ended up with John Corbett, the bloke that looks like Tron Legacy's shit CG-version of Jeff Bridges. Then there's Vardalos's Mum, Lainie Kazan who's the one that's clearly had so much Botox that she now looks like Jackie Stallone struggling to birth her own face out of her 94 year old vagina. Michael Constantine is Vardalos's Dad, who's the old guy that's sort of a cross between a dying naked turtle and a semi-melted Don Rickles-shaped novelty Easter-Egg. And finally there's Vardalos's daughter, Elena Kampouris who has to spend the entire movie acting as though she's embarrassed by her family which should be an easy emotion for her to express considering the movie that she's appearing in is My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.

Anyway.. So the two dilemmas of the film are that Kazan and Constantine realise that they never actually got married and so need to do so right away. This is despite them both having a combined age that's equal to that of the Earth and with the lack of marriage having so far been less of a problem for them than the next cold winter will be. However things don't go smoothly for the ancient couple because most films have to last at least ninety minutes and you don't spend fourteen years coming up with a contrived set-up like that without then being forced to stretch it out. At the same time of this Kampouris is rightfully trying to escape her demented sit-com family by picking a college that's as far away from them as she can find. Unfortunately for her, Vardalos (her Mum) has so little character of her own that's she completely defined by the people around her, and so clings onto her daughter like a bad smell around a cats anus.

I mean, by all accounts, Vardalos is one of the driving creative forces behind this film and yet she's such a non-entity. She spends the majority of the movie with her arms locked to her side and staring terrified into the distance as though she's having visions of the future and all she can see are the reviews for this crappy sequel. You know that bit in Back To The Future in which Marty McFly starts to fade away because his parents won't fuck? Well here it's as though her parents refuse to actually ball each other but are locked in a ninety minute session of finger banging and rimming. So she never quite manages to completely disappear from the screen but she never quite seems fully there either. That might sound like an insult, but considering how fucking irritating the rest of her god-awful family is, I was actually mentioning it as one of the films highlights. There's another character played by Andrea Martin who was about as annoying as a wasp with a megaphone and somehow twice as loud. It's as though she knew that the jokes weren't funny and so decided to compensate by confusing comic timing with shouting. Sadly, mad screaming and erratic movements aren't a substitute for actual jokes, as anybody that's noticed the lack of laughter track over the Nuremberg Rallies will know.
Speaking of the Fuhrer, there's an interesting thing running through this movie in regards to the creation of a 'pure race'. Obviously it's specifically Greeks insisting that they only breed with other Greeks, which I'm pretty sure was the joke of the first movie and which is being repeated again here in regards to Kampouris. Her grandfather Constantine seems to want her to bang somebody of the same nationality despite how unfunny and creepy this task might be. Generally when an old man pays close attention to his granddaughter's sex life, it ends with years of therapy and a best selling book that acts as a warning to other young girls. This aspect also simultaneously proves Constantine's complete lack of character development over the last fourteen years, however I think I know the real reason for both this re-hashed sub-plot and joke. One of the main highlights of the film was during the opening credits when one of the producers was listed as Tom Hanks, and for a brief second I could pretend I was about to watch Bridge Of Spies or Captain Philips. Thinking about it, that was probably my favourite bit of the entire film.

Anyway, the distinctly American Hanks is famously married to the actress and co-producer of this film, Rita Wilson, whose family are also from Greece. So presumably there's got to be some minor element of truth to the way in which we see the characters act on screen? Well, you know how when you're re-telling a story about how somebody has annoyed you and you kind of exaggerate their twattishness to help justify your rant to the listener? I think that's basically all that's gone on here in that Hanks has had to endure an annoying family, and after letting the rage build up for a decade and a half he's finally felt the need to see another film that depicts them as morons, pricks, and dullards. Most of us would just moan to our mate down the pub, but then most of us don't live in a world in which we get paid to appear alongside Daryl Hannah as she pretends to be a fucking mermaid. I mean maybe I'm wrong... Vardalos claims that the sequel simply came about because she has such a great chemistry with Corbett and so wrote a script to capture it. I kind of agree with this too except it's not so much the exciting, sparks-flying, Breaking Bad type of chemistry that they have but rather it's the every day stuff that I presume happens but you just don't fucking notice.

Regardless of how terrible this movie is though, I'd be lying if I said that I hated it. I mean, I didn't like it. I've been to funerals that I found myself laughing through more and that's not just because people are twats and so fuck them. At one point a woman in the audience laughed as Vardalos's grandmother wore a funny dress and danced down the street at night.. but I found it terrifying. Bearing in mind that the grandmother actually looks older than time itself and spent most of the film dressed as Emperor Palpatine, her impromptu jig was like something out of a David Lynch movie. She also got tarted up for the wedding at the end of the film in a moment of what I can only presume was meant to be sweet sentimentality. However as she glided down the church aisle with her gray hair pushed up, she looked like Gary Oldman's fucking Dracula. The same woman in the cinema that laughed at the dance also seemed touched by this scene, so if the film's target audience is fucking idiots then I'd say it's hit the mark. Sadly I was too preoccupied with trying to work out how the walking dead had set foot on holy ground to give a shit.

However as pure crap as My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is, at least it wasn't really offensive. This year alone we've had Dirty Grandpa and (The Brothers) Grimsby in which black, gay, female, and working class people were shafted much like the Greek economy. Speaking of which, I noticed that Kampouris's character was only just born at the end of the last movie and yet over the last fourteen years she seems to have grown up into a seventeen year old girl. I mean, no wonder the country has no fucking money if its maths skills are that hazy. I don't know if this film was an investment to help the country get back on its feet, but if it is, can we do something the fuck about it before anybody suggests a third instalment? Pay their debts off, help with their migrant crises, or just buy their fucking yogurts. I don't care... just help them! Do you know Sisyphus? He's a figure from Greek mythology that was forced to roll a huge boulder up a hill only to watch it roll all the way down again once he'd reached the top. Well, this really summarises the film for me in that the jokes are so forcefully set-up and for such ultimately pointless results with the whole movie being tired and repetitive. Greece might be the country that invented democracy, philosophy, and critical thinking, but as with Sisyphus and his rolling boulder, they've really dropped the ball here. Thanks for reading, motherfuckers, and see you next time.



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