A letter of concern to Nia Vardalos
Ms. Nia Vardalos,
Thank you for “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”
When I was just an awkward middle schooler in Southern California, you came into my life with your unique insight on family, love and happiness.
As Toula Portokalos, you were every person who ever felt as if there was more beyond his or her own family. You showed us the inevitable conclusion that family will always be a part of who we are.
Your confidence and Archaic sexuality stood grounded and strong in the sea of chaos that was your family.
Though I am not of Greek descent and there are more differences than similarities in the Filipino and Greek cultures, I still felt like your family was my family.Your description of the lack of personal time as a result of your family always being in each other’s business struck a chord with me.
I am filled with the great memories of weekly barbecues with my extended family, and Easters in the park, where the men would stand around the pit talking about football, the women would gather around a table and share the week’s gossip, and the kids would run in a massive swirl of energy that never seemed to wane.
Yet when I saw “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,” your epilogue to your magnum opus, the Nia Vardalos that I knew and loved, was absent. Literally.
I understand that you wanted to show how Toula’s teenage daughter was experiencing the same anxieties of being part of a big family, but why was Toula pushed to the sidelines along with a subplot about trying to create the perfect marriage with her husband? It made no sense for her character.
Without Toula, the Portokalos family has become nothing but a collection of one-dimensional characters. Toula was the glue that held it all together. In “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,” she is part of the madness.
Though your daughter, Paris, was supposed to be the straight man–a replacement for Toula–she only came off as being a brat.
There were also other additions to “Greek Wedding 2” that didn’t seem necessary or in character. The odd main plot about Gus (Michael Constantine) and Maria (Lainie Kazan) not actually being married clearly only existed because there needed to be justification for the title “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.”
And why was John Stamos in there?
Ms. Vardalos, do not take this lamentation as a criticism, but instead as a warning.
You are too talented to be corrupted by the dollar. “Greek Wedding 2” shows that it’s getting to you. Do not become one of those writers-for-hire, taking whatever project has the highest amount attached.
Your voice is still strong. Use it.
With love and concern,