Film / My Big Fat Greek Wedding

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My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a 2002 romantic comedy film written by and starring Nia Vardalos, directed by Joel Zwick and produced by Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson. It is based on Vardalos' one woman show and at the 76th Academy Awards, it was nominated for Best Original Screenplay.

Toula Portokalos is a single, voluptuous thirty-year-old Greek woman living with her parents and brother in a close-knit Chicago Greek community and working in the family's Greek restaurant. They even have a Greek statue in their front lawn and proudly painted the Greek flag on their garage door. Deciding to invigorate her life, she breaks out on her own to go to college and start working at a travel agency. She also gets a makeover, taming her wild hair and getting contacts.

In this new lifestyle she meets the handsome, charming but non-Greek Ian Miller. They fall for each other and decide to get married. Her dad does not approve; how could she possibly marry a non-Greek?

Nevertheless, things get sorted out and a huge and very Greek wedding is planned...

Hilarity Ensues.

Noted for being the highest-grossing film to never have a #1 weekend at the box office, the film slowly propelled past $200 million domestically thanks to strong word-of-mouth and gross holding that slowly led to wider releases. It is commonly praised for its sharp indie-film dialogue, and for avoiding many of the pitfalls that plague other romantic comedies like Hollywood Homely (Nia Vardalos is attractive but not the typical bombshell, giving her makeover more plot relevance than others) and the "teary-eyed breakup due to a misunderstanding."

It was followed up by an oft-forgotten TV sitcom, My Big Fat Greek Life, which was met with tepid reviews and only lasted a season.

A sequel, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, was released on March 2016 and focuses on the wedding of Gus and Maria who find out they were never legally married.

Provides examples of:

  • An Aesop: Accept yourself and others.
  • Babies Ever After: Toula ends up having a child at the end.
  • Bad Bad Acting
    "Oh. Woe to me. Business is bad."
  • Batman Gambit: Toula and her mother manage to convince her father that her getting a job is his own idea.
  • Beautiful All Along: Toula turns out to be quite good looking when she puts some effort into her appearance.
  • Bilingual Backfire: In the sequel, after Nick mildly insults Ian in Greek, he's stunned when Ian responds in Greek as well.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In all its regal (and, as "I have three testicles" indicates, not-so-regal) splendor.
  • Black Sheep: Toula, who isn't very into her Greek ancestry and sees it more as a burden than something to celebrate. A late scene shows that her brother Nick has some similar thoughts, but he's not as vocal about it.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Gus's ability to turn any word, regardless of whether it has a Greek origin or not, into a Greek word sort of pays off, when he realizes the surname "Miller" sounds quite a bit like the Greek word for apple, milo, whereas their last name, Portokali means orange. In other words, while they are distinctly different, they're all still fruits. It's his absurd and rather charming way of bridging the gap between cultures and coming to terms with the fact that his daughter is marrying a xeno, and that his future son-in-law is actually a pretty good guy.
  • Close-Knit Community: Toula's extended family all know each other's business and are very close.
  • Closer to Earth: Toula's mother, compared with her father. When Toula announces she's getting married, her father has a Heroic B.S.O.D. while her mother tries to convince him nothing's wrong with it.
  • California Doubling: A movie about events that took place in Winnipeg, written by a Winnipeg writer, starring a Winnipeg actress... was set in Chicago and filmed primarily in Toronto.
  • Chicago: The setting, albeit not the sets (see California Doubling).
  • Converting for Love: Ian, to Greek Orthodoxy. Since Toula's Church isn't used to adults converting, he is baptised in a kiddie-pool.
  • Cultural Posturing: There is nothing that Mr. Portokalos can't trace back to Greece. Even kimonos.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Toula, when she first sees Ian. Later Ian when he sees Toula in the tour office, leads to a brutal beatdown by an old lady.
  • Engagement Challenge: Resulting in Converting for Love, as it's the only way Toula's father will consent.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: Toula's dress, even though with the veil it looks overdone.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: We're given a short dating montage before Ian and Toula decide to get engaged. It's a little unclear exactly how much time passes.
  • From The Latin Intro Ducere: The father frequently claims that he can show the Greek root of any word. He makes it up as he goes.
  • Funny Foreigner: Toula's family is extremely Greek, which is played for all the laughs it can get.
  • Fun with Foreign Languages: Toula's brother and cousins have fun giving Ian the wrong Greek phrases.
  • Genre Savvy: Maria Portokalos knows her kids quite well and sees how things are unfolding well ahead of everyone else. In a comedic example, when Nick tricks Ian with a Trolling Translator moment, she immediately gives Nick a Dope Slap, even though she didn't know that Nick told Ian to say what he said.
  • Glad You Thought of It: The best way to get Gus' consent is to let him think it was his idea.
  • The Glasses Gotta Go: Part of Toula's makeover involves ditching her glasses for contacts.
  • Greasy Spoon: The Portokalos establishment is an excellent example of a Greek-American diner in the city.
  • Happily Married:
    • Toula's parents. Probably Ian's parents.
    • And Ian and Toula, as shown in the Distant Finale.
  • Hilarity Ensues: Every time Ian's family tries to interact with Toula's.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: "I'll kill you and Make It Look Like an Accident." Toula's male relatives are probably just messing around with Ian. Probably.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Toula's reaction to her giant-white-cupcake of a wedding dress. "I'm a snow beast!" And the bridesmaids' dresses are even worse.
  • It Runs in the Family: Toula is the only sane Portokalos.
  • Lucky Charms Title: My Big Fat Grssk Wedding?
  • Meaningful Name: Portokali (πορτοκάλι) is Greek for "orange." Toula's father makes an Incredibly Lame Pun on the resemblance of Ian's name (Miller) to the Greek word for apple (μήλο, milo). Get it?
  • Never Mess with Granny: The ouzo-guzzling grandmother is somewhere between this and Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!. On the night before Toula's wedding she gives Toula her wedding garlands and shows her some other keepsakes and photos, whereupon we learn that I Was Quite a Looker.
  • Never Trust a Trailer. One of the trailers for the sequel makes mention of a wedding without saying who it's for, with Paris wearing a white dress to her Prom, many people, without having watched other trailers that made it clear that it was Gus and Maria's wedding, assumed Paris was the one getting married.
  • Not So Different: The entire point of the movie is An Aesop about this, with plenty of opportunity for jokes along the way.
  • Nuclear Family: Greek Americans don't believe in it. At least not the Portokalos. Truth in Television for many immigrants.
  • Odd Name Out: Almost all of the young family members have the name (or variation) of Anita (including Athena and Angelo), Diane or Nick (including Nikki). The outsider? Toula.
    "Costas, Nick, Nick, Nick, Costas..."
    "And I am GUS!"
    • This is pretty much Truth in Television for Greek families, since the eldest boy and girl in each branch of the family are usually named for their grandparents (giving you multiple cousins with the same names), but other children don't fit this pattern so they often have more unique names.
  • Old Maid:
    • Toula is only 30, but her parents seem to think she needs to get married right away. Her father started calling her old at FIFTEEN! This is Exaggerated Truth in Television, as any child of Greek immigrants will tell you. It's a pretty common attitude in the Eastern Mediterranean that any woman over 25 who isn't married is an embarrassment to the family.
    • In the sequel he calls Paris old at seventeen.
  • One Steve Limit:
    • Aversion: Unlimited Nicks.
    • Very many instances of Nikki.
    • This is partly Truth in Television, as Greek children are traditionally named after their grandparents—and with only four grandparents to go around among the huge number of grandkids, there's going to be some overlap. Obviously it doesn't usually get that bad, but still.
  • Pursue the Dream Job: Toula, in her early thirties, decides to invigorate her life, going to college and starting to work at a travel agency.
  • Racist Grandma: Toula's grandmother despises Turkish people. To judge from her age, this is probably a result of World War II. Sadly, certain events of that time explain a lot about her attitude. Television airings cut all of her "ugly Turk" dialogue, which makes for some awkward dialogue jumps (like Grandma walking in, almost immediately hitting her son, and Toula's voice-over explaining that they told her the war was over).
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: Toula goes into a long rant about her stifling family environment when her Greek ethnicity is brought up in conversation.
  • Real Men Eat Meat: Ian is a vegetarian and Toula's family is naturally shocked by this. Leads to a funny exchange:
    "What do you mean, you don't eat no meat? ... That's okay, I make lamb.
  • Running Gag: Gus Portokalos thinks Windex is the solution to everything. Becomes a bit of a Brick Joke at the end of the film when Ian sprays some on a wedding-day zit and it actually works.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: At the start, Toula's dad believes she should do this. As the film progresses, it appears to be more of "stay in the enclave", and applies to his son as well: Greeks hang out with Greeks, marry Greeks, work at the family business, and so forth.
  • Tactful Translation: Unimpressed with Ian's attempt to wish him a happy Easter ("Cheestro Nasty!"note ), Gus mutters in Greek, "My people were writing philosophy when your people were still swinging in trees." At Ian's confused look, Toula says, "He likes you."
  • There Are Two Kinds of People in the World: "...Greeks, and everybody else who wish they were Greek."
  • Trolling Translator:
    • This is Ian's Running Gag; in one memorable scene, he asks how to say "Dinner's ready!" in Greek, but the phrase he's told actually means "I have three testicles!"
    • In one instance, Nick tricks Ian into telling Toula's mother, "Nice tits." She immediately turns and slaps Nick upside the head.
  • Truth in Television: As any Greek-American who's seen the film will readily tell you, along with pretty much anyone from Southern Europe, especially the Balkans.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy:
    • Well, Toula is a woman - but the same concept applies.
    • It's hinted that Toula's brother Nick (who apparently wants to study art) has similar issues. His beautifully designed menus are dismissed with an "enh" by Gus.
    • While Gus seems to have grown on Ian by the end of the movie, in the sequel he makes it pretty clear while he likes Ian he still is disappointed he's not Greek and is already trying to find a Greek husband for his granddaughter, Paris who is 17.
  • When I Was Your Age
    Maria Portokalos: "Nicko! Don't play with the food! When I was your age, we didn't have food!"
  • Women Are Wiser:
    • Maria is more open-minded than Gus, and has a great deal more common sense.
      Maria Portokalos: "Let me tell you something, Toula. The man is the head, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants."
    • However, this is averted with Ian's parents; while Rodney shows signs of lightening up towards the end, Harriet merely develops a fondness for ouzo.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/MyBigFatGreekWedding