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Patient: My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Profile: Movie based on a play that feels like a sitcom about a late bloomer and the tension, drama, and amusing characters and moments she endures during the courtship and marriage that unites a Greek and non-Greek family. The only thing missing is the tension, drama and characters, which makes it only somewhat amusing. I liked this better the first time they made it, when it starred Jackie Onassis. That was hilarious! Think Muriel's Weddingmeets Zorba the Greekmeets Father of the Bride meets I Married Ari.

Symptoms: If you're going to do an ethnically mismatched comedy, you'd better come up with something that hasn't already been said by Bridget Loves Bernie.This doesn't. A film like this is based on conflict between cultures, sexes and generations. Greek Wedding gets around all that by having nothing happen. The major source of tension—the wedding—is rushed through. The clash between the two families gets no deeper than that they seem to enjoy different foods and methods of modulating their voices. The turtleneck-wearing, classical-music-listening, pinched-faced WASPs are imbued with all the depth and range of an authority figure in a Twisted Sister video. The Greeks come off as loud-mouthed, big-haired boobs with garish taste, like watching TBN on a feta buzz. There are so many opportunities here to play the jokes off real drama—the brother, who may be gay (c'mon, he's Greek) whose artistic side is being stifled; the overbearing father who buys his daughter a house next door to his own; the husband who couldn't be a bigger pussy if he were married to the Queen of England—and they do nothing with it, which just proves that Gandhi was right: people should marry within their own religion. Diagnosis: That Gandhi was a genius.
John Corbett and Nia Vardalos
Prescription: You have two great resources here you don't exploit. First, make use of your secondary characters. Take a cue from the similar but far superior Moonstruckand let them tell their tales as they prepare for the wedding: perhaps they loved a non-Greek but were pressured to break it off; perhaps they are jealous; perhaps they, too, were once engaged to a man with no penis. But the richest vein to be mined lies in the planning and execution of the wedding. The only things tenser and more miserable involve warlords hoarding grain. Show the clash of cultures, sexes and generations as they set up the wedding, which represents the way they think the world should be. Show the father trying to control everything, show that pussy of a husband capitulating, show the wife's shock at discovering she's marrying a man without a penis (this is why it's very important, girls, always to have premarital sex). Mine the wedding, explore the wedding, use the wedding; it's very important to your story, which is probably why they put the word "wedding" IN THE FRIGGING TITLE.
 
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