Monday, January 30, 2006

My Big Fat Greek Wedding


Dir: Joel Zwick (Fat Albert; Lots of TV work)

The biggest sleeper hit of all time? Spun off into a short lived television series and a Broadway musical? The object of worship for millions of moviegoers? A ubiquitous source of pop culture references? And Marcus won't see it? That, my friends, is an irrational prejudice.

A sweet but lazy bit of safe and stale feminisim, this movie has nothing really wrong with it but nothing right either. A 30 year old ugly duckling spinster (that's how the movie protrays her, not my choice to describe her) decides to break out of the well meaning but suffocating embrace of her old fashioned father. She goes to school, meets a man, and falls in love. But the folks object to the beau's non-Greekness, and hilarity ensues.

I found the romance rather charming. The love story is believable, free from pretence, and involves two eminently likeable characters. It is a romantic comedy narrative above your average Meg Ryan or Kate Hudson movie, and for that was pleasant enough to have on. I smiled a few times.

But the driving force of the movie are the zany, over-the-top ethnic stereotypes embodied in the extended family of our heroine. Now, I didn't find anything here particularly offensive or unduly neagtive. They are colorful charatcers first and foremost, and their ethnicity is interchangeable with any number of nations. But as foils for the love story, counter points that set up obstacles to the romantic leads coming together, they are frustratingly lazy. Oh, the dad doesn't think that women should go to school. Oh, the women have to scheme to get around the old duffer. Oh, the whole community cares only about getting married. Maybe people like this exist out there, in these broad uncomplicated brushstokes. No doubt they do. But I am not sure that their stories make for good movies. Caricature has stepped in and substituted for a well thought out script.

Even the WASPy parents of the groom are cartoons of stuck up rich people. To have raised kids with so much humanity in them, the surrounding families of both these people are bereft of any worldliness or self reflection.

Like I said, there is nothing wrong with that. I laughed a few times, was charmed a few times. The montage of the wedding preparations was quite pleasant. But this is the cinema equivalent of a beach novel; everyone knows what to expect before picking it up, and doesn't want to be made to think too hard while pulling sand out of their ass crack.

Forgettable bit of fluff. Irrational prejudice? Confirmed.



Blogger ronvon2 noted on 1/30/2006 04:01:00 PM that...

In the spirit of juxtaposition, I wonder how this movie would jibe with Bend it Like Beckham?