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"My Big Fat Greek Wedding"

"My Big Fat Greek Wedding" ... an appealing and watchable film.

IT IS SWEET, mild and eminently watchable. And though it is not very original or even different, it has something charming about it. What seems to set it apart from other done-to-death romantic comedies is the matter of fact manner in which the entire film has been handled. And some moments are so light, that you find yourself smiling.

Originally written and produced by Nia Vardalos, it was taken up by Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, who not only produced the venture but also went on to cast Nia as the leading lady even if she was not the conventional Hollywood beauty. And Vardalos is very good — apt for the role of Toula Portokalos, the thirty something daughter of Greek restaurateur Gus (Michael Constantine).

Toula feels oppressed by her family, loving though it is. She is 30 and not yet married. ``Nice Greek girls are supposed to marry Greek boys, make Greek babies and feed everyone''. She is frumpy, wears glasses and dresses atrociously. On top of everything, ``you are so old, '' exclaims her father.

She is compared unfavourably with her sister who produces babies year after year. Sick of all this, Toula begins by daring to ask her father whether she could go back to college to study computers. And when he puts his foot down saying, ``for a woman she is smart, why does she need to go to college? I am the head of the family and what I say is final,'' her mother says, ``he may be the head of the family, but I am the neck and I can turn the neck any way I want''. Its no surprise that he gives in and then starts the fun.

She starts putting on make up and takes to wearing contacts and the transformation from the ugly duckling to the graceful swan begins. Now she wants to do more. She wants to move out of serving in the family restaurant and work in a travel agency owned by her aunt. That takes a lot of convincing for dad to agree.

But agree he does (the women ensure that they engineer the situation in such a way that the idea comes from him) and that's when she meets this handsome, eligible teacher, Ian (John Corbett).

The problem is that he is not Greek. And her father would never hear of her marrying an outsider.

What follows next is not very surprising — the test by fire by her family.

Michael Constantine as the father is rather wonderful — he gets carried away with tradition, but his heart is in the right place. He is at his best when he tries to push his belief that Windex (a window cleaner) cures all cuts, burns and scabs. As for Corbett and Vardalos there is something so normal that they could be real people. Director Joel Zwick, a television serial director, sometimes brings that feel of soap, but on the whole has made it rather appealing.


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