The first My Big Fat Greek Wedding wasn't a good movie, but at least it was a nice one with awkward, unglamorous charm. Back in '02, the ugly-duckling rom-com concept seemed so tired, especially as such movies rarely starred someone who wasn't in fact a sylphlike beauty gone undercover. By contrast, the likable writer-star Nia Vardalos felt like someone you might actually know; her film's observations about Greek families carried near-universal appeal in a nation of immigrants.
That same spirit is partly evident in the sequel, the imaginatively titled My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. The jokes are mostly the same, though a couple have been updated in obvious ways. ("The Greeks invented Facebook. We called it 'the telephone.'") Toula (Vardalos) and her WASP husband Ian (John Corbett) now have a teenage daughter, Paris (Elena Kampouris), who's considering attending college outside of Chicago to be free of her smothering family. Toula's Windex-toting grandfather Gus (Michael Constantine) gives Paris some familiar advice: "You're starting to look old. You gotta get married."
The wedding this time turns out to be Gus' own. He discovers that his marriage certificate to Maria (the great Lainie Kazan) was never signed, which means that, technically speaking, they're not actually husband and wife. Maria wants Gus to make her an honest-to-goodness romantic proposal; he's too proud, and maybe too old, to get on bended knee. So she resists.
But then, well, she doesn't. It is one of the structural facets of these Greek Wedding movies that no narrative challenge ever hangs around for long. But it truly is nice, relying on our fondness for these characters and performers to paper over its many rough spots.