In this 2002 blockbuster romantic comedy, Nia Vardalos pokes loving fun at her own huge, colorful, Greek family whose old-world customs seem charming but ridiculous when they butt up against New World realities. Vardalos not only wrote the screenplay, she also stars as Toula Portakalos, a frumpy 30-year-old whose father wants nothing more for her than to “marry a Greek, have lots of Greek babies, and feed everyone until the day she dies.”
Of course, our heroine defies her fate, becoming a computer whiz, undergoing a trendy makeover, and attracting an adorable non-Greek guy, Ian Miller. The humor really kicks in when Ian’s WASPy parents meet the Portakaloses—all of them—and when Toula’s scene-stealing father says to her pityingly, “You look so old!” There is stereotyping here, but it’s done in such a big-hearted way that I had no trouble parking my political correctness for an hour and a half. In fact, you may find that the film’s many eccentric characters bear more than a fleeting resemblance to some of your own nutty relatives. Most of us would agree with Ian when he says to Toula, “You’ve got a weird family; who doesn’t?” I particularly loved it when Gus kept mistakenly calling Toula’s new mother-in-law, Harriet, “Harry.” Perhaps that’s because at my engagement party, my father enthusiastically asked everyone to raise a glass to the “Greenfields.”
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