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File:My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002).jpg

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. One of the reasons behind its success is the sharp indie-film dialogue and 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."

Followed up by an unmemorable TV sitcom, My Big Fat Greek Life.


Provides examples of:

  "Oh. Woe to me. Business is bad."

 "Costas, Nick, Nick, Nick, Costas..."

"And I am GUS!"

  • Old Maid: Toula is only 30, but her parents seem to think she needs to get married right away.
  • One-Hit Wonder: This was Nia Vardalos's only project to have any sort of success. Her subsequent projects have mostly failed critically and financially.
  • One Steve Limit: Aversion: Unlimited Nicks.
    • And Nikki.
    • Note that this is partly Truth in Television, as Greek children are traditionally named after their grandparents. Obviously it doesn't usually get that bad, but still.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: Toula goes into a long rant about her stifling family environment when her Greek ethnicity is brought up in conversation.
  • Real Life Relative: Ian Gomez, Nia's real life husband who was directly involved with the inspiration for the movie, plays a friend of the groom.
    • Leads to an Actor Allusion, as Ian Gomez's character flatly states that there's no way that a gorgeous woman like Toula would even look at a guy like him.
  • Real Men Eat Meat: Ian is a vegetarian and Toula's family is naturally shocked by this. Leads to a Crowning Moment of Funny:

  "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.
  • Sleeper Hit: Turned a $5 million budget and a limited release into a $241 million domestic tally, thanks in part to such great word-of-mouth that the movie stayed in the top 10 weekly box office for over three months, gradually getting a wider release with each passing week due to its success. Some of the films it outgrossed on its shoestring budget: Austin Powers in Goldmember, Men in Black II, and Die Another Day.
  • 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!"[2]), 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."
  • The Other Darrin: Nia Vardalos and most of Toula's family came along for the TV series, but Michael Vartan had to be recast.
  • There Are Two Kinds of People in the World: "...Greeks, and everybody else who wish they were Greek."
  • Truth in Television: As any Greek-American who's seen the film will readily tell you. And not only them.
    • Indeed. This movie was a big hit because America is a nation of immigrants meaning that a whole lot of us have wacky ethnic relatives - which ethnicity doesn't really matter because they are ALL like Toula's family, in their own way.
  • The Windy City
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Well, Toula is a female - but the same concept applies.
    • It's hinted that Toula's brother Nick (who apparently wants to study art) has similar issues.
  • What Could Have Been: Tom Hanks helped produce the film but found some difficulty getting it made. The studios liked the idea but wanted to cut the "Big," "Fat," and "Greek" part out and cast someone like Jennifer Lopez in the main role (as a thirty year old woman who has trouble dating, yeah). That's the reason it went indie and turned out the way it did.
  • When I Was Your Age

 Maria Portokalos: "Nicko! Don't play with the food! When I was your age, we didn't have food!"

Notes

  1. G-R-Sigma-Sigma-K
  2. meant to be Χριστός ἀνέστη (Christos Anesti meaning "Christ is Risen!")
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