Movies reviewed this week: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, The Jungle Book 3D, Edie the Eagle, Misconduct & Kia and Ka
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
If you’re old enough to remember the original My Big Fat Greek Wedding when it was released in 2002, you may well be excited at the thought of a sequel. The story of unmarried Greek thirtysomething Toula (Nia Vardolas) who, to her family’s horror, falls in love with the tall, handsome Ian, a non-Greek, was charming and big- hearted. It was also romantic comedy gold, making US$369 million (RO142 million).
Fourteen years later, Toula and Ian are back. Here’s the first problem. The fact it has taken 14 years for a sequel might be a clue that no one really wanted one.
Anyway, Toula and Ian (John Corbett) are still together and have a rebellious teenage daughter, Paris (Elena Kampouris). They’re juggling the pressures of parenting with trying to keep the spark in their marriage. Then it emerges that Toula’s parents, Gus and Maria, owners of Dancing Zorba’s restaurant, aren’t actually married. A forgetful priest forgot to sign the marriage certificate 50 years before.
And this can mean only one thing: it’s time for another Big Fat Greek Wedding. Chaos ensues as the entire Portokalos clan comes together again for an almighty celebration. In the original, Vardolas was the star and writer at the centre of the plot. This time, Vardolas (who also wrote the sequel) is relegated to a supporting role and the result is a loss of focus, with no clear thread running through the film.
The gags come thick and fast, but the nuanced humour of the original has gone. While it’s still a sweet movie, the freshness of the first film has gone stale. One of the subplots sees Paris, 17, fighting pressure to date a fellow Greek boy while struggling with her heritage and cultural identity. Sound familiar?
There are some bright spots, notably Andrea Martin as Toula’s thoroughly un-PC Aunt Voula. But on this showing, it might be wise not to expect a My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 in another 14 years.
Review by Kate Ginn
PREVIEW: The Jungle Book 3D
In 3D in this live-action epic adventure from Disney. The visual effects, featuring talking CGI animals, are stunning and in the hands of director John Favreau, who helmed Iron Man and the huge family hit Elf, the story of an orphaned boy, Mowgli, raised in the jungle by a family of wolves since birth is beautifully told. More than a reboot of the 1967 animated original, this should delight old fans and open up the book to a whole new generation. Lending their voices to the animals are Ben Kingsley (Bagheera the panther); Bill Murray (Baloo the bear); Scarlett Johansson (Kaa, a slithery python) and Idris Elba (the fearsome tiger, Shere Khan).
Eddie The Eagle
Britain loves an underdog and no one would exemplify this more than Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, who overcame hurdles the size of mountains to become an unlikely ski-jumping hero. How a milk-drinking plasterer managed to steal the show at the 1998 Calgary Winter Olympics was a triumph of sheer persistence. Based on his story, we follow Eddie (played by Taron Egerton from Kingsman: The Secret Service) on his journey of discovery, aided by a fictional (an amalgamation of all Eddie’s 20 or so coaches) mentor (Hugh Jackman, in fine form) with something to prove. It’s a heartwarming, funny and inspirational movie that is well worth watching.
With two heavyweights such as Al Pacino and Anthony Hopkins onboard, this should have been a treat. Sadly, both have had better days. In this forgettable thriller, an ambitious young lawyer, Ben (Josh Duhamel) gets in over his head when he takes on the powerful executive of a large pharmaceutical company (Hopkins), a billionaire accused of covering up hundreds of deaths caused by one of his products. Pacino, hamming up the melodrama, is the law firm’s head honcho. The plot – featuring kidnapping, betrayal and murder – is convoluted with too many twists and turns to mention.
Muscat International Film Festival Choice: Kia and Ka
Translated as “Hers and His”, this romantic comedy-drama about a young, married couple – written, produced and directed by R. Balki – has had mixed reviews. Its overall premise should resonate among today’s liberal, urban young Indians; concerning the gender roles placed upon men and women in Indian society. Kareena Kapoor is Kia, a career woman focused on climbing the corporate ladder at a marketing firm. Her husband Ka (Arjun Kapoor, taking on a role that not all male actors would) is content to be the house husband. This role reversal works well until Ka becomes something of a celebrity on social media and begins to develop ambitions of his own. Some of the writing could have been a bit tighter and critics have accused of it not being “sharp” or “deep” enough, but terrific performances from the two leads make it very watchable.