My Big Fat Greek Wedding -10th Anniversary Special Edition Blu-ray Review
Every year Hollywood has a “sleeper” film – a small project that comes out of nowhere to become a huge hit. In 2002 movie goers were introduced to the Portokalos family courtesy of the romantic comedy MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING. This year, as the film celebrates its 10 Anniversary, it comes to Blu-ray.
Toula (Vardalos) is a waitress in her parent’s Greek restaurant, called Dancing Zorbas. Now age 30 she has yet to meet the Greek man her father wants her to marry. But Toula wants more out of life. One day she serves coffee to Ian Miller (Corbett) and is immediately smitten. Not wanting to spend the rest of her life working for her parents she begins taking computer classes and working in her aunt’s travel agency. Fate being what it is, she and Ian meet again and eventually begin dating. But as their relationship progresses Toula must now prepare to tell her parents that the man she loves is NOT Greek. And Ian, who comes from a very small family, must learn to deal with a virtual village of people at every gathering. All in all a true story of acceptance.
Based on Vardalos’ one woman show (she also wrote the Oscar nominated screenplay), MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING is the best look at family since Barry Levinson’s AVALON. Assuredly writing about what she knows, Vardalos gives viewers an insider look at the Greek culture, which really isn’t different from any other when it comes to family. The film is peppered with outstanding performances, both from the stars and the supporting characters. As Toula, Vardalos almost appears to morph before our eyes. When we first meet her she is wearing over-sized glasses and her hair is flat. As her personal freedom, and relationship with Ian, grows, she begins to blossom like a flower – her already apparent inner beauty spreading outward. Corbett is equally charming, slowly realizing that Toula’s family will always be a part of him just as he will be a part of them. The great Lainie Kazan shines as Toula’s mother, Maria while Second City Alum Andrea Martin steals her scenes as Toula’s Aunt Voula. But the scene stealer here is veteran actor Michael Considine. As Toula’s hard working father Gus, a man who believes in everything Greek (and that Windex can cure every ailment), he is truly the emotional center of the film. That he wasn’t Oscar nominated for his performance is hard to understand.
Joel Zwick’s direction is straight forward and direct, taking his camera “inside” the family and making the viewer feel like they are sitting around the table as well. This helps contribute to the “family” atmosphere and gives the viewer an emotional investment in the story. The film was followed up by the short lived television series “My Big Fat Greek Life,” which lasted a total of seven episodes. The series had been pitched to CBS prior to the film being made and turned down. However, after the success of the film the green light was given. However, the show didn’t capture what was great about the film, turning it into just another bickering family sitcom.
Video: The picture is just OK. Not sure if it’s because the original production was low budget or if they used a bad print. Not what I expect from 1080p. The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is available in both full frame and wide screen presentations.
Audio: The sound is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and is bright and clear. I wish they had paid as much attention to the visual aspects of the transfer.
A Look Back at My Big Fat Greek Wedding (29:04): A nice look at the origins of the film, including footage from Vardalos’ one woman show, a reunion with her and John Corbett and interviews with behind the scene personnel including producer Tom Hanks.
Deleted Scenes (5:00): Five scenes whose absence from the film aren’t missed.
Audio Commentary: From the original DVD release, the commentary features Vardalos, Corbett and director Joel Zwick. A lot of fun stories and some behind the scenes info (the restaurant was actually a set built inside an old supermarket).