My Big Fat Greek Wedding

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
HBO Home Video
Extras: Commentary Track, Biographies

Last year’s surprise break-out hit and the sweetest film of the year, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" is now making its DVD debut courtesy of HBO Home Entertainment. There can be no doubt that many are eagerly awaiting this release, if only to revisit this charming movie about an ugly duckling coming of age.

At the age of 30, Toula (Nia Vardalos) is still single and unmarried. It is something that is unheard of in her Greek immigrant family, living in Chicago. Everyone marries young and the women bear children, many children, many Greek children, that is. Stuck in the daily rut of working at the family restaurant, Toula wants to break out and decides to go to college. But her father doesn’t understand. What does a woman have to go to school for? She should find a husband and make Greek babies…
Trying to balance her heritage, her twisted family and her own feelings, Toula eventually breaks out of the family embrace somewhat and begins work at the family travel agency, putting the computer skills she learned in college to work. A complete make-over later she meets Ian Miller, a young, handsome teacher, and immediately a romance ensues. The only problem is that Ian is not Greek… the rest you have to see for yourself, I’m afraid, because I certainly do not want to spoil the movie for you.

"My Big Fat Greek Wedding" is a fresh breeze in the movie world, and it is undoubtedly the reason for its success. It is not one of those gross-out teenage romantic comedies and it is also not one of those sobbing stories, trying to break your heart. It is just a very sweet story that is entertaining, funny and heart-warming, masterfully told in a witty way that mocks many of the stereotypes we associate with immigrants of any culture.
Much of the film’s charm also comes from the cast of characters. While sometimes knuckle-headed, they are all lovable individuals the likes we either know, or think to know. The stars of the film put in great and believable performances as they struggle to overcome their obstacles and pay the price for it.

The DVD that HBO Home Entertainment serves up here contains the movie in an <$16x9,anamorphic> <$PS,widescreen> version as well as a <$PS,fullscreen> transfer, selectable from the main menu. The transfers are absolutely clean and clear without any hint of noise, grain or blemishes. The image reveals a very good level of detail with many of the intricate textures and nuances fully intact. The color scheme is faithfully reproduced with natural colors throughout that accentuate the film’s romanticized urban and suburban setting with its warm colors Fleshtones are natural-looking while color highlights stand out well without oversaturation. Black levels are good and only on a few occasions, blacks appear a bit weak. The transfer has very good sharpness, and no visible signs of edge-enhancement are present in the transfer, giving the presentation a film-like appearance throughout. The compression of the material has also been handled carefully, making sure no compression artifacts are present.

The release contains a <$5.1,5.1 channel> <$DD,Dolby Digital> audio track alongside a <$DS,Dolby Surround> track. The audio is well integrated, though surround usage is a bit restrained. The subject matter doesn’t lend itself to overly effective surround usage and the track nicely handles the many ambient settings of the film. Frequency response is good with solid bass reproduction and high ends that good fidelity. Dialogues are always understandable and never drowned out and the Greek-influenced music is also nicely integrated in the mix to underscore the atmosphere.

The DVD contains a <$commentary,commentary track> featuring director Joel Zwick as well as his stars Nia Vardalos and John Corbett. Together they elaborate on the film, the production, the characters, the stereotypes and countless other facets of the movie, making it a very informative and enjoyable track.
The only other extra on the disc are selected cast biographies. No trailer or other supplements can be found on this DVD.

"My Big Fat Greek Wedding" is a wonderful movie that lets you enjoy it for what it is. It is entirely unpretentious and makes for some fascinating 90-minute of viewing. HBO Home Entertainment has prepared a great-looking DVD for this beloved film that will give everyone the chance to revisit this charismatic piece of cinema in its uncompromised glory.