My Big Fat Greek Wedding

DVD (2002)  Written by Nia Vardalos/Directed by Joel Zwick

Toula Portokalos’ family is full-on Greek and proud of it. “While my people were writing philosophy, your people were swinging through the trees!” shouts Toula’s father Gus at all non-Greeks. Though the family lives in Chicago suburbia, the father roasts lamb on a spit on the front lawn and the grandmother sleeps with a knife under her pillow to ward off invading Turks. Toula’s siblings and cousins are all in her face  24/7, and it has been predestined that she work at the family restaurant until she is dead. So it is no wonder that the frumpy, loveless 30-year-old Toula (Nia Vardalos) dreams of living a “normal” non-Greekcentric  life.

Enter all-American Ian Miller, his long John Corbetty hair (easy to achieve since he is played by John Corbett) blowing in the Chicago breeze. He is perfect, we will soon see, and Toula is smitten. But will her Greek family accept him as the man she wants to marry? We have our answer when Toula’s father yells  “Is he a nice Greek boy? No! A xeno with the big long hair on top of his head!”  “Xeno” is Greek for ‘stranger’ or ‘foreigner’ and that is what Ian will always be to Toula’s  family because he is not Greek. The father is not pleased with their relationship and the story moves on from there.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a relatively low-budget film, but it blew away the box office in 2002. The movie is full of warmth and humour, and you are guaranteed to laugh throughout. My only complaint about the film is that there is never truly enough tension between Toula and Ian—despite the fact that Toula’s family life is threatening to tear the couple apart.  Ian is just so understanding and wonderful that the threat to their relationship just doesn’t feel real. That being said, romantic comedies operate in the world of fantasy and what’s more unreal than a man who’d be willing to be baptized in a kiddy pool at the front of a Greek Orthodox church to impress the father of the woman he loves? Truly, it’s only something John Corbett or George Costanza would do.

I like this movie and the lessons it offers, one of them being that a loving family (no matter how intrusive or out to lunch they are) is something to be valued, not spit upon. (Although, the Portokalos family does plenty of spitting, too.  So maybe a loving family IS something to be spit upon? Don’t ask. Go watch!)

Sweet extras Learn the many uses of Windex!

Good for who? A fun pick for couples (especially ones about to get married!) or girlfriend get-togethers. Very mild language and only mild sexual references, so it’s great for moms with kids or for DVD night with the baptist minister’s wife.

Loved this movie? Live this movie!

If you’re heading to Toronto Dying to see the site of  Ian Miller’s kiddy-pool baptism and the big fat wedding itself?  Two churches in Toronto were used in the film:  The Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church (23 Henry Street)  provided the exterior shots of the church in the movie, and the interior comes from not a Greek Orthodox church but the St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church (4 Bellwoods Ave).  Built in the first half of the 20th century, the church’s interior is decorated in the tradition of  medieval Byzantine Christian art. To see the inside of this gorgeous church, you can attend a Catholic church service on Sundays at 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. or 6 p.m.  (I verified with the church that services are open to everyone who’d like to attend — although be mindful that the services are probably in Ukrainian.)  photos:

Not just for windows Says Toula: “My dad believed in two things: That Greeks should educate non Greeks about being Greek and that every ailment from psoriasis to poison ivy can be cured with Windex.” I’m sure this Windex comment was a joke, but before dismissing it as such, I felt I should collect my own data. I sprayed it on my face before going to bed last night, and this morning I woke up like this:




  1. Lisa said

    I loved this movie! Wonder bread and all!

  2. S.S.Sassy said

    If that was the work of Windex, heck, forget spraying it on my face, I’ll just shower with it!

    This movie was simply hysterical! I loved the entire scene where Ian was peacocking outside of Toula’s work place window, then beat up by the senior citizen! Her being so worked up by his John Corbetty hair blowing in the wind that she clotheslines herself. -the best!

    Norm’s favorite part was the aunt who had a “bu-bobsy” done on her neck! Great fun!

    Thanks for this blog — all I have to say is, “…ok…goodnight…”

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