My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 is Mamma Mia! minus Abba – you’ve been warned

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 - Yannis Drakoulidis

Out of nowhere, with zero star names and a tiny budget, My Big Fat Greek Wedding became one of the biggest box-office hits of 2002 – practically a romcom equivalent of The Blair Witch Project.

Leaving no cliché unsqueezed, this “rambunctious” saga of the Chicago-based Portokalos family spawned a more modestly profitable 2016 sequel which I figured must have passed me by, until an email search proved me wrong, by unearthing an entire review I seemingly sent in.

The temptation to repurpose that for this third one, with its identikit weaknesses and plenty of the same aren’t-we-Greeks-hysterical jokes, is almost insuperable, but that would be trying to beat writer-director-star Nia Vardalos at her own game.

We jet off to Greece itself this time – hey, there’s one difference to the formula, even if it’s virtually the only one. Such is the film’s vast ordinariness in all locations that every attempt at tourist porn gets you gagging – not to go, just dry-heaving. There’s always time to switch to Turkey this autumn.

Flying out for a reunion with long-lost family members, the Portokalos clan (minus Michael Constantine’s patriarch, since the actor died two years ago) hardly miss a beat before running fully clothed into the sea – a moment striving for joyful spontaneity but achieving pure slappability. If someone proposed they try to swim en masse to the Dodecanese, who would we be to stop them?

The plot’s a one-joke affair, the joke being how all Greek people are more related than they realise. Fotoula (Vardalos) has a half-brother she’s never met, because her dad got around, and the ferocious wench in her parents’ village has been holding onto this secret all her life. John Corbett, as Fotoula’s hubby, has so little to do they might as well park him on a sun lounger and be done with it.

Wedding hopes (kill me) rest for now on their daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris), who’s picky, and ghosted the overeager Aristotle (Elias Kacavas) after one date. Can her arm be twisted? She maintains the over-it vibe of someone who doesn’t want to be in the My Big Fat Greek Wedding series whatsoever, but has agents with other ideas.

Meanwhile – guess what? – honey’s drizzled over baklava, ouzo’s downed till the older ladies get blotto, Andrea Martin’s Aunt Voula dispenses hard-hitting romantic advice, and the bouzouki music just won’t stop. It’s Mamma Mia!, minus ABBA. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 is in cinemas now