Whether it warms your heart or freezes your marrow to see the celluloid return of My Big Fat Greek Wedding's scripter/ star Nia Vardalos, there's one fact you can't ignore: the lady loves to recycle. Not content with adapting her stageshow into the surprise hit of 2002, she went back to the well for a (dud) TV spin-off, My Big Fat Greek Life. Here, though, she fills her pail with other people's ideas.
With its Mob-hit-witnessing duo bending gender to stay safe, Connie And Carla's a retread of the greatest cross-dressing comedy of them all, Some Like It Hot. The 'twist' - girls pretending to be guys pretending to be girls - is straight out of Victor/Victoria. Other echoes? Try Thelma&Louise, Sister Act, Priscilla...
There's even a splash of Shakespeare when Vardalos' Connie falls for David Duchovny's hetero hunk Jeff, who likes talking guy-to-guy with his new buddy. But it's here that the superficiality of the movie's sexual politics are most exposed, Vardalos and helmer Michael Lembeck (The Santa Clause 2) pussyfooting around the suggestion that Jeff's got straight eyes for the (outwardly) queer guy. The relationship's less about subtext than slapstick, with the couple crashing into each other no fewer than three times. More engaging is the thaw between Duchovny and his estranged bro Stephen Spinella, the only gay character who's more than just a cuddly camp caricature.
That said, the overall line-up here is less in-your-face than our broad-brush scribe's earlier big, fat, Greek stereotypes. Particularly amusing is Mob goon Boris McGiver, whose conversion to Broadway as he combs the nation's dinner theatres is the film's best recurring gag. Though our leading gal-pals' squawky interplay feels strained at times, their club renditions of every showtune under the sun glitter with sequinned sass. Toni Collette is especially divine as a diva, making up for Vardalos hogging the spotlight off stage.
Sprinkle in a lively gay-icon cameo (hint: Princess Leia's mum) and a frantic finale and you've got a good-natured musical comedy whose familiar tune you'll end up happily nodding along to.