In 1998, “second city” comic Nia Vardalos wrote and starred in a one-woman play about how she defied her Greek parents and married a non-Greek man. Rita Wilson, also Greek, saw the show, and now her husband, Tom Hanks, has produced the film with Vardalos in the lead.
Nice story, huh? Nice movie, too. Vardalos plays drab Toula Portokalos, stuck working at Dancing Zorba’s, the Chicago restaurant owned by her parents, Gus (Michael Constantine) and Maria (Lainie Kazan). After a makeover, Toula falls for Ian Miller (John Corbett — Aidan on Sex and the City), a WASP who’s also — yikes! — a vegan. Toula’s aunt (wonderful Andrea Martin) makes do: “I’ll cook lamb.” Even the corniest jokes work, especially a recurring one about Windex. Like Vardalos and Corbett, who play their roles with vibrant charm, the film, directed by Joel Zwick, is heartfelt and hilarious in ways you can’t fake. It’s a keeper.