“My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” has an opening title that reveals the name of the film. It also has closing credits. The problem is that there is little between the start and finish that justifies this being called a movie. It is little more than a vague attempt at a plot loosely connected by jokes that would have been old during the William McKinley presidency.
This is merely another example of what can happen when someone wears too many hats. Nia Vardolas is the writer, director, executive producer and star. Odds are she also did the catering.
There needed to be one voice to shout over the dullness of the script that it would help if there was a point to making this production other than to make money for Vardolas. It certainly isn’t for entertaining an audience.
The contrived setup has the Portokalos family heading to Greece. It was the last wish of former family patriarch, Gus (Michael Constantine), that his daughter, Toula (Vardalos), take his diary to his three closest friends from his days growing up in Greece. Don’t worry about that plot point as no one in the cast seems to care until the end.
Gus didn’t care enough to stay in contact with his boyhood buddies when he was alive. That didn’t stop him from making the family attend a reunion in Greece to pass on the item.
The first sign of how out of touch the script is with any form of reality is when the family boards the airplane. The chaos they cause would get them tossed on the tarmac in an instant.
Once the family reaches Greece, the story splinters into a variety of parts, each less interesting than the others. Toula and her husband, Ian (John Corbett), might be having problems. Maybe it is because they are as bored with each other as the audience is with them.
Then there are the struggles of the small Greek town, a long-lost brother, squabbles over spreading ashes, several chats with a Monk, bigotry that threatens a wedding and a trip to a nude beach. None of these are developed enough to give the film a solid central thread. It is just a mangled mess.
That trip to the nude beach is an example of how old the attempts at comedy are in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3.” Seeing people on a beach where towels, beach items and bottles cover all the naughty bits was barely funny when Peter Sellers was using that approach to get laughs decades ago. It now just comes across as contrived.
Vardolas has loaded the script with jokes that either are being used long after the expiration date or are more suited for a basic cable movie. There is an entire sequence with Toula trying to get on the back of a donkey that is extremely painful to watch.
There is also a very uncomfortable social tone to this film. The original film looked at the eccentricities of the family and lovingly used them to have fun with the culture. And, even if the word “Greek” had been taken out of the title, that first film would have attracted an audience just because of the quirkiness and compassion the family members showed toward each other. That part of the story cut across all cultures.
This time that same attempt at focusing on family cultural foibles for humor comes across as being more insensitive than funny. It all plays out like what someone who has never been to Greece would imagine what the people of Greece would be like.
The acting ranges from dull to comatose. The only member of the cast who manages to project some energy is Stephanie Nur who plays an immigrant living in the Greek village. She’s not given a lot to do but the role is a nice partner to the superb work she did in the miniseries, “Special Ops: Lioness.”
“My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” is so bad, if you found yourself in a locked room and it was the only movie you could watch, the blank screen would be far more entertaining. It is time to divorce any ideas of a fourth offering in the franchise.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3
Cast: Nia Vardolas, John Corbett, Andrea Martin, Elana Kampouris, Louis Mandylor, Stephanie Nur
Director: Nia Vardolas
Rated: PG-13 for language, suggestive material, brief nudity
Running time: 91 minutes.