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My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 review: A frustratingly pointless sequel

The Portokalos family are back

Nia Vardalos stars as Toula and John Corbett stars as Ian in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 (Universal)
Nia Vardalos stars as Toula and John Corbett stars as Ian in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 (Universal)
  • 🎞️ When is My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 out in cinemas: 8 September, 2023

  • ⭐️ Our rating: 1/5

  • 🎭 Who's in it? Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Elena Kampouris, Andrea Martin, Louis Mandylor.

  • 👍 What we liked: The whole family is back together again but it's Anthi Andreopoulou's Alexandra who steals the show.

  • 👎 What we didn't: The jokes fall flat, the narrative is a mess, and the magic of the original is just completely gone.

  • 📖 What's it about? After her father's death Toula brings the whole family to Greece to fulfil his dying wish, to visit the remote village he grew up in and deliver a journal to his childhood friends.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding became a rom-com classic in 2002, capturing the hearts of film fans around the world with its touching romance between Toula (Nia Vardalos) and Ian (John Corbett), and the amusing culture clash between him and her Greek family. It took over $368m at the global box office, was Oscar and Golden Globe nominated, and is still one of the most profitable movies ever made, thanks to its micro $6m budget.

Vardalos wrote the original, so it's no wonder that she has hoped to recapture the same magic ever since. She tried with a TV series called My Big Fat Greek Life in 2003, then with 2016 film My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, and now again with a new film in the franchise. Unfortunately, third time isn't the charm.

Read more: How My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 handles the absence of late actor Michael Constantine (Entertainment Weekly, 2-min read)

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 returns to the Portokalos family, Toula's father Gus (Michael Constantine) has passed away but before his death she promised him she'd take the family to the remote Greek village he grew up in to deliver a journal to his childhood friends.

John Corbett, Maria Vacratsis, Melina Kotselou, Nia Vardalos, Elena Kampouris, Andrea Martin, and Elias Kacavas in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 (Universal)
John Corbett, Maria Vacratsis, Melina Kotselou, Nia Vardalos, Elena Kampouris, Andrea Martin, and Elias Kacavas in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 (Universal)

On paper this is a reasonable enough premise and one that could have paid tribute to Constantine, who really did pass away in 2021, but unfortunately it fails on every level.

Read more: Nia Vardalos directing My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 in Greece: 'Much love and gratitude' (Entertainment Weekly, 2-min read)

What is the most frustrating about My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 is how unfunny it is. Almost all of the jokes fall flat, and only Anthi Andreopoulou is able to garner a few chuckles for her portrayal of Alexandra, one of the six residents left in the village where Gus grew up.

The film executes its story badly, it is only an hour and a half long and yet it wastes so much of its time on landscape shots, close-ups of people staring wide-eyed at the view, and no less than three scenes of a rooster crowing in the morning.

Nia Vardalos stars as Toula and John Corbett stars as Ian in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 (Universal)
Nia Vardalos stars as Toula and John Corbett stars as Ian in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 (Universal)

Because it's My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the film shoehorns in a ceremony between Alexandra's grandson (who has a surprise connection to the family) and Qamar (Stephanie Nur), a Syrian refugee. There was potential for this to work but it just feels like an afterthought, as does the whole reason the family travelled to Greece in the first place: the journal.

What did other critics think of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3?

The Telegraph: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 is Mamma Mia! minus Abba – you’ve been warned (2-min read)

Evening Standard: The party’s over with this shoddy threequel (2-min read)

Variety: Nia Vardalos Directs an Unfortunate Affair Filled With Beauty and Blunders (5-min read)

Toula struggles with trying to find her father's friends so she can fulfil his dying wish, but when this storyline reaches its conclusion it's met not with a bang but with a whimper: a throwaway blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment that completely undermines the whole reason behind the story.

Vardalos, who directed and wrote the threequel, just doesn't seem to know what to focus on or, really, what her film is trying to say.

The original is loved for a reason and this new film just couldn't quite capture the same lightning-in-a-bottle quality it had, which is a real shame.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 is in cinemas on Friday, 8 September.

Watch the trailer for My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3