This week Natasha Oakley brings you a wonderful 'feel good' movie ......
I love this movie. I must have watched it dozens of times and every time it makes me smile.
All Gus Portokalos wants is for his daughter to marry a nice Greek boy and have lots of Greek babies - but Toula has failed. She’s 30, unmarried and stuck in the family restaurant, Dancing Zorba’s – where she ‘meets’ Ian Miller, a school teacher, played by John Corbett. (It’s one of those toe curling embarrassing moments that I identify with so completely.)
Most of this film is about Toula discovering who she is and what she wants. When we first meet her she’s dowdy and wishes she could, somehow, be happier. Things change when she takes control.
It all begins when she persuades her father to let her take computer classes and gradually a new and happier Toula materialises. Then, in a wonderfully funny scene, Gus suggests she work in her aunt Voula’s travel agency. (A man may be the head of his home, ladies, but a woman is the neck and can turn the head anyway she chooses!) Toula is beginning to be her own woman.
This new woman re-meets Ian Miller (Corbett) and the two go out to dinner. It’s a real first date – painful, funny and really rather lovely. But, of course, Ian is not a ‘nice Greek boy’ and Toula tries to keep their growing relationship a secret by pretending to go to an evening pottery class every time they meet. Not surprisingly they're ‘spotted’ and it’s a major family crisis.
Then there’s the scene where Toula (Nia Vardalos) meet’s Ian’s (Corbett’s) conventional parents. (Anyone who has ever been in that situation will be laughing so much it hurts.)
And then Ian proposes and Toula accepts. Who could blame her? Ian is lovely and, truthfully, makes stepping into her colourful family look easy. In order to pacify them he agrees to be baptised into the Greek Orthodox faith – fun scene involving a paddling pool. Afterwards, at the family’s Easter party, it’s discovered he’s a vegetarian. His Greek is also the source of much humour. (His ‘Khristos Anesti’ sounds like ‘Cheese straws are nasty’.)
The wedding is hijacked by Toula’s family. The bridesmaid’s dresses are horrific, Ian’s mother’s name is miss-spelt on the invitations and bride and groom wish they could quietly elope.
Maybe I find this particularly funny because it echoes my own experience? My husband’s family struggled to get to double figures while my immediate family hit 80 odd without even thinking about it. (Who'd have thought an American Greek family would have so much in common with a London one???) Incidentally my husband made it look easy, too. We went for a drink and decided we'd have the speeches, do the line-up, allow his mum to give him away - and just turn up!
If this movie has passed you by you must rent it. It's funny and lovely and romantic and ..... happy.
As for movie trivia …….
It was written by Nia Vardalos, the actress who plays Toula, and is the USA’s fifth highest grossing movie of 2002.
Tom Hank’s wife, Rita Wilson, saw the play of it and convinced her husband to produce the movie. When Tom called Nia hung up because she thought it was a joke.
Nia’s real life husband, Ian Gomez, plays Ian’s best friend, Mike.
In real life John Corbett lives with Bo Derek. (Why do I find that funny?)
All told, I think ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ ought to have a Pink Heart Fuzzy rating of 8.5.
This July sees the start of a brand-new series - The Royal House of Niroli.
These 8 wonderful titles are written by some of your favourite Modern™ and Romance authors, including Penny Jordan and Natasha Oakley.
The Mediterranean island of Niroli has prospered for centuries under the Fierezza men. But now, as the King’s health declines, and his 2 sons have been tragically killed, the crown is in jeopardy. Who will rule?
Natasha's book, 'The Tycoon's Princess Bride' will be in the shops in October but if you don't want to wait it's possible to buy the entire set right now by clicking here.