Review: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

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In 2002 my wife and I were dating and as was our weekly custom we would stock up on cinema snacks and head off into 90 mins of rom com. We saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding during this time and we laughed, several times in fact. Characters were enjoyable, the story worked (as well as any rom com story does), the outsider being rejected and then  welcomed into the bosom of the overbearing family was a story that had  heart and made us smile. It has continued to do when we catch the film on TV and has held its charm. So we sat down last night in our local cinema, popcorn in hand and looked forward to what we hope would be a happy reunion.

Sadly it wasn’t to be. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 has none of the original’s quality.

The tag line on the poster tells you really all you need to know.

‘People change. Greeks don’t’ 

To be more accurate it should read

‘People change. Sadly this lot haven’t’

Everyone in this film is still stuck attempting the same gags from 14 years ago. No one in the entire family has moved on the only notable exception being that Toula (Nia Vardalos) and Ian (John Corbett) now have a teenage daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris). I felt a lot of sympathy for Paris as she looks at her family with great embarrassment, disdain and despair  as the audience do. This family that charmed and amused me are now in 2016 loud, boorish and irritating on a massive scale.

We get to experience another family wedding as it is revealed that Toula’s parents were never officially married and the only other plot of note is the whether or not Paris stays close to home or goes away for college. Other than that there are only half-hearted attempts at humour and every character looks wearied by this enforced reunion. I only laughed twice and for a film billed as a comedy this simply is not good enough.

I left the cinema pondering if my sense of humour has changed but if the original film still works  and garners laughter (certainly more than twice) then it can’t be me.

A poor story, insufficient laughter and the lack of necessity for this sequel (did anyone wonder what happened to these characters after the original?)  made this a rather pointless and wasted trip to the cinema.

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Review: Joy

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I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I got the opportunity to see Joy. David O’Russell reunites again with Jennifer Lawrence to bring us the story of Joy Mangano and her extraordinary rise to fame despite her circumstances.

This is the story of a woman fighting against her family history, her failed marriage and her place in society.

Part drama, part biopic and part black comedy the film sees Lawrence maintain her record of great performances and, also contains within it, a welcome return to form for Robert De Niro starring as her emotionally abusive Dad.

This is a compelling ‘American dream’ tale with much to say about what it means to be a creative person,  what it means to rise above oppressive circumstances and the importance of never giving up.

I am a huge Jennifer Lawrence fan. Even when discussing mop design she is probably the most compelling screen presence we have in modern cinema. Throughout Joy you are rooting for her, willing her to succeed and hoping that she finds the joy she so desperately seeks.

I’ve read several reviews that have been hard on this film and I have to say I don’t understand why. I found lots to love and while it is hard to pin down exactly what genre the film fits into I believe in time it will be viewed as a classic.

Joy is released on 1st January 2016

Thanks to MovieHouse for advance screening access