May 20, 2002
DCGreeks.com @ The Movies Presents
A Thin Review of
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
If you havenít seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding by now, itís a good of a time as any to go see it this week, with a light week of Greek events ahead, and everyone and your mother telling you how funny it is after having seen it twice by now. Weíre not going to give away any of the plot or tell you about any of the funny scenes in this review, because your friends have pretty much already done that, and letís face it, thereís really no secret as to how a movie called My Big Fat Greek Wedding is going to end. What we are going to tell you is that this movie is what it is-- an over-the-top portrayal of Greek-American life.
We imagine many Greek-Americans out there would be offended by this movie. These are the Greek-Americans whose families have never owned a restaurant, which arenít surrounded by an extended family of first and second cousins-- Greek-Americans who haven't lived a hyper-Greek existence. Our family, like many others in the DC area, has owned a restaurant. We are first-generation Greek-Americans. Our parents speak with noticeable accents. Still, even we canít completely identify with the portrayal of Greek-Americans in this movie. Itís unlikely that anyone in the Greek Community, especially in the DC area, can truly identify with this portrayal either. Unfortunately in its quest to be funny, My Big Fat Greek Wedding portrays an over-stereotypical caricature of Greek-American life. While My Big Fat Greek Wedding has succeeded on bringing attention to Greek-American life on the big screen, is it any different than the portrayal of Greek-Americans in such shows as Full House or worse, Perfect Strangers? (Címon you know that the island of Mypos and Balki Bartokomous were actually Greek, even if they didnít say it.) Itís not that these comedic views of Greek-American life arenít funny, and that they donít have their place, but itís just that when all you see being portrayed are these stereotypical views of Greek-American life, itís hard to differentiate the stereotype from reality.
Ok, so taking this movie as a comedy, is it truly a funny movie, or just one long inside joke for Greeks? We were fortunate to see this with a mostly Greek audience, but wonder how funny it would have been to a non-Greek watching it at a normal screening. Without much exposure to Greek-American culture by most Americans on TV or in the movies, itís hard for most non-Greeks to get all the jokes in this movie. Weíd like to see more portrayals of Greek-American life on the big screen, both funny and serious, that can be appreciated by both Greeks and non-Greeks, while not being so stereotypical. Overall, we thought this was a funny movie best enjoyed with a few Greek friends in the audience.