Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA/Spain, 2009. 26 Films, Kanzaman. Screenplay by Mike Reiss. Cinematography by Jose Luis Alcaine. Produced by Michelle Chydzik Sowa, Nathalie Marciano. Music by David Newman. Production Design by David Chapman. Costume Design by Lala Huete, Lena Mossum. Film Editing by Patrick J. Don Vito.
Seven years after her big, fat Greek wedding changed the face of ethnic comedies forever, Nia Vardalos is back and this time, she’s heading for the homeland. She plays a professor who was recently downsized at the University Of Athens and is now acting as tour guide for a rickety organization that doesn’t appreciate her. Her passion for the ancient world keeps her out of touch with the people around her, promoting an unappetizing attitude towards her clients that results in her getting low marks from tourists and, as a result, the worst tourists are assigned to her by her boss. On one particular trip around the country visiting Greece’s loveliest ruins, she finds herself with a group that pushes for change: the crass Americans (Harland Williams, Rachel Dratch), the annoying, funny old guy (Richard Dreyfuss), some incomprehensible Aussies and snooty Brits (including Caroline Goodall, who looks lovely) all combine to force a new perspective on our heroine, but it’s the burgeoning romance between her and a surly bus driver named Poupi Kakas (Alexis Georgoulis) that really clinches the deal. Vardalos is her always appealing self, showing off the terrific comedic timing that she has successfully brought to the screen in the past (even in lesser fare like Connie And Carla), but the movie fails her talents; the script is uneventful and monotoned, featuring lots of pleasant moments but very few truly funny ones. It would have been better to have her write it instead, and someone please explain to me when they ever met a Greek guy named Poupi. The revelation is the scenery itself, as director Donald Petrie can barely turn on the camera without emphasizing the beauty of Greece’s most atmospheric settings, and it is the spirit of adventure in the topography that inspires. The feeling doesn’t last long, though, so walk away from it and straight to your nearest travel agent’s office for an even better experience. Features the first time filming on the actual Acropolis since Boy On A Dolphin.