OPA! Another Wedding and Remember Protect the Poulaki

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My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is a romantic comedy that is the anticipated sequel to the highly successful My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 was directed by Kirk Jones and produced by Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, and Rita Wilson.  Nia Vardalos wrote and starred in both films.Nia plays the main character Toula Portakalos who in the first movie struggled with her own identity and getting her family to accept that she had fallen in love and was going to marry a non-Greek man (Ian Miller).  Tool ended up marrying Ian and they had a daughter. So, the sequel picks up years later and Toula and Ian’s daughter Paris is seventeen and is feeling smothered by her Greek family and his ready to go to college out of state. Toula has made it her duty to make sure that everybody in the family is happy, yet leaving her relationship with her husband Ian a little stale. While, Gus Toula’s father was trying to prove that he was a descendant of Alexander the Great, he finds out that his and Maria’s marriage certificate was never signed by the priest, fifty years ago. The entire cast has come back to enjoy yet another big Greek wedding. I will explore how My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 portrays the strong empowered woman with the theory of lipstick feminism and how that effects the female roles in the film.

Lipstick feminism is where a woman can still wear makeup, sexually appealing clothing and embrace her sexuality in a confident and empowering way.  This allows the woman to still feel feminine yet have a positive self-image of herself and no longer have to form to those societally gender roles.

There were plenty of examples throughout the film of female empowerment and the characters still being true to themselves.  There was a moment that Toula’s cousin Nikki and the rest of the Portakalos family meets newcomers to their church John Stamos and Rita Wilson, while they are talking Nikki interrupts and claims John’s character is a news anchor on TV and immediately unzips her top to show her cleavage. Here Nikki is using her sexuality to provoke the male gaze, but she still proves to be strong and self-assured.

Gus, tells his granddaughter Paris that she needs to find a nice Greek boy so she can eventually have babies and he goes on telling her she needs to do this before her eggs get old.  In Gill’s Postfeminist Media Culture article she talks about “how men and women just don’t understand each other and so in popular media its a large role in translating or mediating men’s and women’s  communication, customs, and ‘funny way’s’ to each other which could be argued that this systematically privileges male power.” (159)  So, with Gus interacting with his granddaughter in this way, proves that men and especially one’s who grew up in another generation can say things that are just inappropriate and misinformed in how the opposite sex thinks and feels.

 

A strong character in the film is Aunt Voula , who plays the personal advisor of the Portakalos family. She basically tells everyone that she is in charge of of the wedding after the original wedding planner quit and Toula could not do it all by herself. Voula uses her sexuality as empowerment. “The unruly female is not about gender confusion, but inverting dominant, social, cultural, and political conventions. The use of humor and excess are used to undermine patriarchal norms and authority.” (McCabe 62) Aunt Voula tells Toula how to sex it up a bit with her husband Ian by proceeding to give her lingerie and explaining how her (Aunt Voula) and her husband keep it going. She tells Toula to shave everything and get sexy. Aunt Voula comes off as this outrageous, comical, and confident character that gives the audience a relatable experience.

The Grandmother Maria tells Paris in the hair salon “to protect her poulaki and keep her legs closed and eyes open” as seen in the film trailer. Here Maria was telling Paris that she comes from a long line of strong women. This gives the female spectator/audience a way to relate to the characters in a humorous but positive fashion. In McCabe’s article she was talking about shows “in the 50’s and how humor might have been women’s weapon and tactic of survival, ensuring sanity, the triumph of the ego, and pleasures.”(62) I would have to say this is something that goes for film and television in the present times with comedies with female leads. It allows the audience become more comfortable with anything that might be construed gender bias.

I went to the Marcus Cinema in Oakdale, which is located near Hwy 694. The neighborhood consists of gas stations, a Fleet Farm, and Apartment complexes. I went by myself on a Saturday at 11:50am, so the ticket cost $7.50 for the matinee. I got to choose what seat I wanted before I purchased the ticket so I sat all the way in the top row so I could have a clear view of the audience. They have what they call Dream Loungers, which is basically recliner seating. This gave the theater experience a more homey vibe, now if I was able to pause the movie it would have been a perfect afternoon. The audience was not large since the movie had been in the theater since Easter and it’s now April. There was about twenty or so of us and it was mostly women who were prominently white. There was three males, two who were with women and one who sat alone. I decided to get a refreshment before the movie and looking around in the lobby I realized that they put a bar where the arcade use to be. Its funny how they cater more to the adult, since years ago going to the movies was such a family adventure. I ended up choosing the ultimate sugary ICEE and mixed cherry and blue raspberry together. I’m still getting use to the fact that you can drink alcohol in some of the theaters these days. I was definitely not feeling obligated to get anything to drink or eat when entering the theater, but right before the previews started they reminded everyone that there was refreshments and restaurants in the lobby.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie it made myself and others laugh and kept me interested throughout the whole movie. I enjoyed the atmosphere in the theater especially, since I wasn’t elbow to elbow with anybody. Recommendation is a thumbs up.

Sources

Gill, Rosalind. (2007). “Postfeminist Media Culture:  Elements of a Sensibility,” European Journal of Cultural Studies, 10(2), 147-166.

McCabe, Janet. (2004). “Textual Negotiations: Female Spectatorship and Cultural Studies” in Feminist Film Studies: Writing the Woman into Cinema, 37-64

Film My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

 

 

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