*** Official "MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING" Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Edwin Pereyra, May 20, 2002.

  1. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING
    I saw this film with a sell-out crowd of about 300 people, mostly adults over 30 years of age. If crowd reaction is a basis whether a comedy works or not, My Big Fat Greek Wedding would fall under that description of a surprise hit. I am in firm belief that a good alternative adult counter-programming actually works especially when the biggest release of the weekend is another installment in the Star Wars franchise.
    The film tells the story of a Greek woman named Toula Portokalos (Nia Vardalos) who falls in love with a non-Greek man played by John Corbett (Sex and the City). Such a union especially in this Greek family is unheard of as they tend to marry only those of other Greek decent.
    The premise, certainly, is not all that original as we have seen numerous films before about two individuals falling in love but their two different cultures become an issue. Even the title itself is a little goofy but is explained in the film. The film’s strength and appeal, however, is in its delivery and the acting turns of its two main leads. Both Vardalos and Corbett are charming as the couple who falls in love with each other.
    The film generated some of the biggest laughs from the crowd I have ever experienced in a theater. I found myself enjoying the film and laughing at its many funny scenes and situations despite the familiar storylines. At times, the laughs were so loud that it drowned out part of the dialogue that immediately followed the jokes. When a film with familiar themes generates this type of reaction from its audience, then you know it transcends its familiar roots and has become an unqualified success.
    Wedding is based on a one-woman play written and starred by Nia Vardalos. Rita Wilson, who is also Greek, saw the show, liked it and in turn, asked her husband, Tom Hanks to co-produce the film.
    This film reminded me of yet another film released this year about family situations surrounding a marriage celebration, Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding. However, for me, My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a lot more enjoyable. It is hilarious and a solid crowd-pleaser.
    If my screening is representative of other screenings of this film, I can just picture Nia Vardalos standing in the back of the theater listening to the crowd’s reaction with a big smile on her face and saying, “They like it. They really like it”. Having experienced the crowd reaction myself, this one is a bona fide success.
    ~Edwin
     
  2. Brajesh Upadhyay

    Brajesh Upadhyay Supporting Actor

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    I liked "Moonsoon Wedding" better, but 'Greek Wedding' was good too. It's a charming little comedy, a grade B.
     
  3. Larry L

    Larry L Agent

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    My boss is of Greek decent who married a non Greek man and she said the portrayal of the whole event was spot on and very funny. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

    Larry
     
  4. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    Larry, thanks for that perspective. I was wondering how accurate some of the situations presented in this film. Its nice to know that that for the most part, they were. That is probably one of its biggest asset and the main reason as to why the whole film worked.

    ~Edwin
     
  5. Derek Miner

    Derek Miner Screenwriter

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    My Big Fat Greek Wedding is playing in the oddest choice of theaters in my area. This puzzled me until someone pointed out they're probably doing a limited release in venues closest to the Greek communitites. This was quite in evidence when my viewing of the film Monday night was somewhat enhanced by a family of about six who were most likely Greek, based on their reaction to the opening scenes.

    I thought this film was charming and hillarious, with a wonderful cast including some familiar faces. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this one, especially if you've been dying for a good movie that's about people instead of action and effects.
     
  6. Allen Hirsch

    Allen Hirsch Supporting Actor

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    This is a terrific little sleeper hit of a film.

    Very funny, very sweet. Well written. Good character actor casting. As Edwin said, superficially, at least, it does remind one of Monsoon Wedding.

    If you can't find it in a theater near you, be sure to put it on your rental list when it's released.
     
  7. Rob P S

    Rob P S Screenwriter

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    It opens in my area tomorrow. I can't wait to see it.
     
  8. Caroline_T

    Caroline_T Auditioning

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    I thought this movie was very charming. It's a great girls night in movie. It will definitely be a part of my collection when it is released.
     
  9. steve jaros

    steve jaros Second Unit

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    I saw "greek wedding" today and was disappointed. IMO, the portrayal of Greek family life was grossly stereotypical. A viewer unfamiliar with Greek-Americans might draw the conclusion from this film that they are hopelessly clannish, childish, and somewhat dumb.

    Beyond that, the film didn't work for me as a love story or comedy. The comedy consisted of endlessly re-tread riffs on Greek stereotypes that i was bored with in the first 10 minutes. The love story was forced and unconvincing. These two lovers hook up for no apparent reason, they fall in love for no apparent reason (i.e., we don't see that love develop in any way) and there isn't much chemistry between the actors who play the roles or the characters.

    Probably the worst contrivance was the conversion of the groom to the Greek Orthodox faith. There's no motivation for him to do so other than that "her family wants the wedding in a Greek church", and we are led to believe that anyone can convert to the church by deciding to do it one day and going down to the church and getting baptised the next - no more difficult than renewing your library card.

    If you have the chance, go see Monsoon Wedding instead. It's funnier, better made, and more emotionally resonant by far.
     
  10. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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  11. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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    Put me in the camp that favored Monsoon Wedding. (Kissing Jessica Stein is also a lot better too.) My Big Fat Greek Wedding isn't bad, just insubstantial. The best I can say is that it's "cute", but I was entertained enough that I'd probably give it a marginal recommendation. I just wasn't knocked out by it.

    Tula's father is easily the highlight of the film, and to be honest, I would have been more interested in a movie about him instead.

    Edwin, I think your post demonstrates how an audience can impact one's enjoyment of a comedy. A packed house that is really responding makes it a better experience and, I wouldn't doubt, a "better" film. (That's not always the case as the audience loved Scary Movie while I sat there wondering what was so funny.) I saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding with an audience of 25 or so. The responses were generally positive, but it all felt too slight to me.
     
  12. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    The material in Monsoon Wedding is definitely heavier than Greek Wedding as it tried to be more than just a comedy. But its content is also all too familiar for me. Greek Wedding, while very light in its material, worked for me just as a flat out comedy. But I do agree that Kissing Jessica Stein is better than these two.
     
  13. Wes C

    Wes C Supporting Actor

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    I saw this tonight and it was VERY funny! If you're thinking of seeing it you should.
     
  14. Dennis Pagoulatos

    Dennis Pagoulatos Supporting Actor

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    I agree with Steve, though I'm in the strongly negative camp on this movie. It was terrible, and IMO, offensive.

    I can see how non-Greeks can like it though, but Steppin Fetchit (sp?) must have seemed pretty funny to white people as well...

    -Dennis
     
  15. Dennis Pagoulatos

    Dennis Pagoulatos Supporting Actor

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    Let me give you some background to temper my above post:

    Both my parents are from Greece; I spent most of my summers during childhood (8 - 3 month summers) in Greece.

    I speak Greek fluently (no detectable American accent, but with a limited vocabulary)

    I have a HUGE family, most of which is in Greece, some of which are in the U.S.

    I work for an architectural firm owned by 2 Greeks, which specializes in designing Greek Orthodox churches (we do about 95% of them throughout the US and Canada)

    EVERYONE in my company was told to go watch this film, and while everyone else came back and raved about it, I held off.

    Now last weekend, I finally went to see it...and I did not say a word to my boss at work, or anyone else, except, when I discussed it with my sister on the East Coast, she felt the same way, and it seems that a lot of Greek Americans do.

    Now, of course, there are many Greeks, I'm sure, who are praising this movie, but I just cannot get behind it.

    I hope that helps everyone understand my (rather strong) opinion on this one.

    Thanks,

    Dennis
     
  16. Wes C

    Wes C Supporting Actor

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    Wasnt it written by a greek?
     
  17. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    Having read some background material about the film and as I have posted in my original comments, the film was based on a hit one-woman play by Nia Vardalos, who is Greek and also played the leading actress. According to some articles that I have read, the show was a success especially within the Greek community. Friends and relatives of hers came and watched her show because of its seemingly accurate portrayal of her life, her family and friends.

    Rita Wilson, who is also Greek saw the show and liked it so much that she and her husband, actor Tom Hanks co-produced the film. The filmmakers for the most part are Greek.

    I have met Dennis in person and certainly respect his feelings towards the film.

    His comments reminds me of Kevin Smith's 1999 film Dogma, which offended some Catholics. I'm a Catholic myself but in no way found anything offensive in the film. If anything, it was accurate in its portrayal of some Catholics, but not all.

    My enjoyment of Greek Wedding was in no way because it is Greek. There were some characterizations in that film that I have experienced from other cultures including my own.

    Again, I can certainly see how some might take offense to the film and look at the stereotypes. Even the hit broadway show The Producers from Mel Brooks, who is a Jew, manages to offend just about everybody including Jews and gays. Yet, it is still a huge success.

    ~Edwin
     
  18. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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  19. steve jaros

    steve jaros Second Unit

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    Edwin, reading your posts i get the idea that you and i saw entirely different movies that happened to have the same title.
     
  20. Chris Harvey

    Chris Harvey Second Unit

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    I'm half-Greek and enjoyed the film, though it is fairly light-weight. The Greek side of my family is quite large and I recently was at a family reunion (just before I saw the film, actually). IMHO it captured a lot of the essense of a Greek family, albeit extremely broadly and played for laughs. My mom, who emigrated to the US as a kid, thoroughly enjoyed the film. Of my various Greek relatives who've seen it, they all enjoyed it tremendously.

    There really isn't much drama here, or real depth, and the jokes are obvious ones, but it's played simply and with warmth.
     

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