Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA/Canada, 2002. , , , , Ontario Film Development Corporation. Screenplay by Nia Vardalos. Cinematography by Jeff Jur. Produced by Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson. Music by Alexander Janko, Chris Wilson. Production Design by Gregory P. Keen. Costume Design by Michael Clancy. Film Editing by Mia Goldman. Academy Awards 2002. Golden Globe Awards 2002. Independent Spirit Awards 2002. Washington Film Critics Awards 2002.
Moments of hilarious spontaneity almost overcome a weak script in this delightful romantic comedy. Nia Vardalos plays Toula, a geeky Chicago waitress who works at her father’s Greek restaurant until the day she decides to spiff up her looks, boost her confidence and start up a career of her own in travel and tourism. Her traditional Greek parents (Michael Constantine, Lainie Kazan) are a bit taken aback that she is breaking free from the family business, but not nearly as shocked as when she brings home her new boyfriend Ian Miller (John Corbett) and announces that she is going to marry him. Soon, Ian and Toula are surrounded by a slew of loudmouthed relatives and garish wedding preparations, unable to keep their family from having complete control over everything. Vardalos has found the perfect outlet for her warm humour, and as star of the movie couldn’t shine brighter, but the authenticity of her jokes about growing up Greek in North America are robbed of their substance by Joel Zwick’s roughshod direction; while the spontaneous moments are handled with panache and wit, Zwick gives the more tender, emotional scenes a mawkish tone that isn’t helped by their having the weakest dialogue. Still, having been to an average of eight thousand Greek weddings per year myself, I can say it is impressive just how accurate the whole thing is.