Nia Vardalos and her screen family are back for a 3rd Big Fat Greek movie after 2002's surprise hit that stayed in theaters for months, followed by an ill-advised detour into sitcom-land and a sequel that was entertaining enough but felt pretty forced. This time the family takes a trip to the Greek homeland which provides some wonderful scenery in this very nice-looking Blu-Ray presentation from Universal. A standard DVD and digital copy are also included with a few bonus features. Your enjoyment will of course depend on how you felt about the previous two movies but overall is Worth a Look.
The father has passed on and the mother (Lainie Kazan) is getting senile. Toula (Vardalos) and her brother Nick (Louis Mandylor) had made a promise to their father that they would return the journal that he kept when he first arrived in America back to his hometown in Greece and give it to his childhood friends.
Good enough reason as any to have the characters go to Greece; most of the ones from the second movie end up going including Toula's non-Greek husband Ian (John Corbett) and their daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris). As soon as she's first onscreen the subject of her past boyfriends comes up, I was a little disappointed she didn't end up with Alex Wolff's "Bennett" but she says that's "over." She mentions another named Aristotle, and oddly enough Aunt Voula (Andrea Martin) has hired him to come along on the trip carrying luggage and such, which Paris doesn't know until they're on the plane. This seems a bit far-fetched as he basically gets paid to come along with them and he's treated like family, Paris of course suspects that Aunt Voula is trying to get the two of them back together and this is confirmed when she's able to talk to him alone.
The trip lands them in their father's hometown which is a small village on an island with not many people left. This is where the story sort of reaches a bit far as the friends they came to see aren't there and the family has to search a few miles around to find them. Toula and Ian spend most of the time with an old woman who turns out to be an old acquaintance of their father's. Martin's Aunt Voula still finds some disgusting personal health-related stories to share with everyone, but being in the homeland she doesn't stick out as much as she did in Chicago. For no apparent reason, there's a running gag with Nick shaving and grooming every inch of himself throughout the movie. There are still frequent mentions of the Greek origins of worldwide words and inventions as there were in the past two movies. Inevitably there's another wedding, though not one as forced as in the second movie.
On one hand, more could have been done here, but on the other things seem to be adequate as they are. The main draw is that we get to see the Portokalos family in their native Greece with the American husband and daughter along for the ride. The plot device of dealing with the deceased father's wishes is more credible than the laughably forced conflict of the second movie. I wasn't a huge fan of the first movie but found it entertaining enough to watch a few times (I re-watched it and the sequel prior to this third movie). The occasional dead spaces in the 90-minute narrative are redeemed by the gorgeous sights of Greece.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-Ray
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 arrives on Blu-Ray from Universal and Studio Distribution Services (SDS). The dual-layer Blu-Ray is packaged in a standard 2-disc Blu-Ray case along with a standard DVD, with an un-sealed slipcover on the outside. A code for a digital copy from Movies Anywhere is included which unlocks the movie in HD there and on linked services.
This third entry retains the 2.35 aspect ratio from the second. Universal did not see fit to release this on 4K, but the Blu-Ray disc looks great and doesn't leave one asking for more. The opening shots of food were enough to make me hungry, and once we arrive in Greece there's great detail present in the unpaved ground, mountains and trees. This is a good title to show off one's display without having special effects or buildings destroyed.
A standard DVD is also included, sampling that just shows the shortcomings of that obsolete format. It does what it can but details are essentially blurred out by the low resolution.
I should note that some dialogue is in Greek with Engish subtitles which are properly hard-coded on the picture rather than using player-generated subs.
Comedies generally don't call for much in the sound department. The Blu-Ray disc gets a 5.1 track in DTS-HD Master Audio and the dialogue is clear which is the most one can ask for. The surround channels are hardly used (they were used decently in the second movie), but the left and right provide some nice ambiance with the LFE punctuating some of the music such as in the opening credits and a brief scene at a club. (The included digital copy features an Atmos mix on iTunes, which is odd as Universal has usually included available Atmos mixes on standard Blu-Rays and the ending credits of this movie only indicate 5.1. I sampled parts of that and did not find any huge differences; I've found that with films on streaming services Atmos can be encoded on anything but not necessarily used to any effect.)
Nia Vardalos, who also served as director on this outing, provides a commentary track where she describes how some scenes were pulled off, such as a gag with a crowded door at an airport. She had also done a commentary on the DVD for the first movie but none was recorded for the second.
The bonus materials play following the movie, laserdisc-style. First is a 7-minute gag reel with some missed lines, outside interference spoiling a take and general shenanigans. Next is a handful of deleted scenes, unindexed, taking up less than three minutes altogether. A short segment "On Set With Nia Varadalos" has her further discussing the challenges of starring in and directing the movie simultaneously, and a separate "Making-of" featurette shows more of the production and the cast and crew's sentiments. Finally there's a minute-long "extended take" of a drum performance at the movie's wedding which was felt worthy enough to showcase on its own.
Bonus features are listed on the back cover as follows:
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 is mostly harmless fun, supporting a small film that became a surprise hit and a rather forced but nonetheless entertaining sequel. This third entry may be enough of a redemption for that sequel; it's refreshing to move the setting to the family's native Greece where they aren't as eccentric as they were depicted in America though there are still some attempts to make the audience laugh at them. Universal's Blu-Ray delivers a lovely visual and audio presentation with only a smattering of extra features. Worth A Look