The story surrounding My Big Fat Greek Wedding is just about as heartwarming as the film itself. The movie's legend, at least according to the tale propagated by those involved, deals with star and writer Nia Vardalos getting her one-woman show on the same topic seen by Rita Wilson who, along with her husband Tom Hanks, decided nearly immediately to produce the film. Made on a five million dollar budget, the film had incredible legs and grossed more than 240 million dollars domestically and more than 125 million abroad. Clearly, by all accounts, the film has been phenomenally successful.
The plot of the film itself is relatively standard clash-of-cultures rom-com fare, but it's clash-of-cultures rom-com fare with likable characters (both in the leads and supporting) and where nearly all the jokes land. If the film didn't do so well at the box office I would think that my opinions are colored by having participated in a clash-of-cultures wedding eerily similar to some of the things that occur in Greek Wedding (okay, cross this film with Monsoon Wedding and you totally have my nuptials, but that's neither here nor there).
Directed by Joel Zwick, Vardalos stars in Greek Wedding as Toula Portokolas opposite John Corbett's Ian Miller. Toula is the daughter of Gus (Michael Constantine) and Maria (Lainie Kazan) – her dad runs a Greek diner and thinks he runs the household too, but Maria is actually in charge there. Toula's parents are not merely Greek, they are exceptionally loud about their Greek-ness (Gus more than Maria) and it embarrasses Toula, hugely. What Gus and Maria want is for Toula to know and be proud of her heritage, but the result is that Toula tends to shun it. She isn't upset by being Greek, just how loud her parents are about it.
In walks Ian Miller. Toula doesn't fall for him because he isn't Greek, but—against her parents long-stated desires for her beaus—she allows herself to feel something for him despite his not being Greek. The romance, however, blossoms and the two are soon engaged. Then, the wedding planning begins and things quickly get out of control.