Flash Movie Review: Somewhere in Queens
I WAS SITTING AROUND A TABLE with eighteen other people, just the way I like it. My friend invited me to her family’s holiday dinner. The table butted up to a metal banquet table that extended from the dining room into the living room. Ornate tablecloths covered both, but it was hard to see the pattern with all the plates and bottles sitting on top. I prefer going to dinners like this, where there are multiple people included instead of sitting at a table with only the parents and/or grandparents of a friend. When I am the only guest invited, I feel there is too much attention devoted towards me and that makes me a bit uncomfortable. When there are multiple relatives/friends in attendance, I feel more relaxed simply blending in with the group. Also, as they say, “The more the merrier.” There is a fun factor when I am sitting in the middle of a group of family members because I get to see a different slice of life. Or, maybe it is more of a confirmation that my family isn’t the only one that is crazy, lol. But I will tell you this, one certainly can learn a lot about your friends or relatives when you get together for a meal. I WAS INVITED TO A FRIEND’S house for dinner; a friend who is soft spoken, I might add. After everyone showed up at my friend’s parents’ house, I quickly understood why my friend was quiet most of the time. His relatives were loud, many talking with their mouths full of food; it was a wonder if he ever got a word in edgewise. After acknowledging me, most of the family members ignored my presence except for the ones seated close to me. Through the meal relatives caused such a ruckus; one person would swear at another, someone else would tell a relative they were stupid and so on. There was such a commotion that I almost felt a headache coming on. When I was at another friend’s holiday dinner, her relatives were curious about me but not to the point where I felt as if they were intruding. Observing and being around them showed me they were a loving family who enjoyed each other’s company. I felt my friend was fortunate to be raised in such an environment. Now, I know family can be challenging at times; there are some you enjoy being around and there are others who annoy you. My own memories of big family meals are some of my fondest memories which is why I felt connected to this comedic drama film. WANTING MORE FOR HIS SON than he had, a father goes to extreme lengths to give his son a shot at an incredible opportunity. With Ray Romano (The Big Sick, Everybody Loves Raymond-TV) as Leo, Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird, The Conners-TV) as Angela, Sadie Stanley (Let Us In, The Goldbergs-TV) as Dani Brooks, Sebastian Maniscalco (Green Book, The Irishman) as Frank Russo and newcomer Jacob Ward as Matthew ‘Sticks’ Russo; this movie written and directed by Ray showed a wonderful slice of life’s cherished and heartbreaking moments. I thought the dialog matched the characters perfectly and the humor from Ray’s writing was both funny and heartwarming. The chemistry between Ray and Laurie was literally a match made in heaven; they were 100% believable. Their and the other actors’ acting skills made the multiple story lines weave together seamlessly. I think it might be due to the era this film portrays; but there was a nostalgic feeling about it, that I could relate to easily. The only way I could compliment this picture is to say it was a good old-fashioned story that was seeped in family life.
3 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: Dog Gone
IT IS TRUE WHAT THEY SAY about you learning about someone based on how they treat their pet. I had a friend who had a wonderful relationship with their dog. Time was always set aside for the two of them to have quality time together. The dog grew up being such a loving creature, who always wanted to be in whatever room you were in. I dog sat for them over a weekend and the dog showed me unconditional love. If I was sitting on the sofa watching television, he would jump up and plop himself down next to me, resting his head on my leg. He had several toys he loved to either play with or gnaw on. The first time I watched my friend tell the dog to go get a specific toy, I was stunned when the dog came back with that toy in his mouth. I could not wait to try it when I babysat him. After taking an inventory of what toys were out, I told the dog to go get his carrot. Off he ran and in a matter of seconds he returned with the carrot sticking out of his mouth. I asked for a couple of other toys then we spent the time playing with them; me tossing them and him racing to get them to bring back to me. I HAVE BEEN AROUND SOME DOG owners who were not nice people; their dogs were a direct reflection of them. There was one owner who only wanted a dog to “guard” the house. Not that they did any training for it, the owner felt any robber who heard the dog barking would leave the property alone. There was a neighbor in my building who was not friendly, with no personality. His two dogs seemed to have the same temperament; all they would do is bark at you. Whether riding down the elevator or crossing their path outside, they just barked and yapped. In summer, the neighbor used to leave the dogs outside on the balcony; but, after other residences complained about the constant barking, the owner had to bring the dogs inside. During my dating years, I quickly got a feel about the person if they had a pet. Dogs can be such a great example of unconditional love and in turn, teach their owners how to express it. If you care to see how relationships grow when there is a pet involved, then feel free to view this biographical, family drama film. WHEN HIS SON’S DOG GOES MISSING, a father reluctantly joins his son in a search along the Appalachian trail. Their hiking would reveal more than the beautiful scenery. With Rob Lowe (How to Be a Latin Lover, Wayne’s World) as John Marshall, Johnny Berchtold (Snow Falls, Life as a Mermaid-TV) as Fielding Marshall, Kimberly Williams-Paisley (We are Marshall, Father of the Bride franchise) as Ginny Marshall, Nick Peine (Office Christmas Party, Just Getting Started) as Nate and newcomer Savannah Bruffey as Peyton Marshall; this movie based on a true story was predictable and a bit cheesy. The production seemed amateurish and low cost, while the acting was just okay. However, it was hard not to like the story line and fall in love with the dog. The script was filled with emotions though I wished they had been portrayed in a better way. Now if one is not a dog lover, they probably will get bored watching this picture. For those who are pet owners, there is a good chance their hearts will be touched by various scenes. I especially enjoyed seeing the people associated with the production of this film and their pets during the ending credits. Overall, this was an easy movie viewing experience that showed how a dog can affect a family’s life.
Flash Movie Review: Emergency
WE WERE SITTING AND HAVING A SCRUMPTIOUS dinner at a restaurant, when a couple walked up to me and said, “What a surprise to see you eating all that food!” Now if they were total strangers I might have been offended; however, I knew them from my fitness classes. I asked them why it was a surprise to see me with a plate of food and they replied they assumed with me being so healthy teaching classes, I would have stayed away from restaurant portion sized food. I could not resist so asked them what they thought I would have been eating; they said a healthy sized salad. Really?!?! Granted I always try to eat a salad every day but more of an appetizer size before the main course. We exchanged a few more words before they wished me well and excused themselves. I sort of wished they had stayed longer to see the chocolate dessert I was expecting soon. My friends at the table were curious to know, based on the conversation they heard, why the couple thought all I would be eating would be raw vegetables and tofu. I explained how this has happened to be before throughout my teaching years. People assume based on how I look and act in class, that I am some type of “intense fitness person” who maintains a strict diet. To tell you the truth, I am used to hearing this; but I try to impress upon them and the rest of the members of my classes that one must find balance with their daily food intake. I can splurge on a Saturday night because I am carefully watching my food choices during the weekdays. HAVING EXPERIENCED INCIDENTS SUCH AS THESE throughout my years of teaching fitness, I wonder if it is in our nature to quickly make assumptions based on visual information. I have certainly been guilty of doing such a thing from time to time; though I do not act on such assumptions unless proof is provided. For example, I was introduced to a friend’s friend. From the brief time we all spent together, I felt he was a cheat. We all went out to eat and when the bill came, he picked it up, scanned it and told us what each of us owed. Because he was the only one who ordered alcohol, I would have thought he would have taken that out of the money we owed, but he did not. Not too much later after that meeting, I heard about him cheating a friend out of money. In this case my impression was correct. But I can certainly see how acting on first impressions can result in erroneous conclusions. If you need to see some proof, then I suggest you view this comedic drama. COMING HOME TO PREPARE FOR A night of partying, two friends discover a woman passed out on their living room floor. They wondered what the police would think if they saw this scenario. With RJ Cyler (The Harder They Fall, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) as Sean, Donald Elise Watkins (Free State of Jones, Black Box) as Kunle, Sebastian Chacon (Angelfish, Pose-TV) as Carlos, Sabrina Carpenter (The Hate U Give, Tall Girl) as Maddy and Maddie Nichols (Anderson Bench, Like Son) as Emma; this thriller posed multiple questions for the viewer to ponder. I enjoyed this film and thought the writers did an excellent job of presenting significant issues in a poignantly funny way, side by side with real concerns and feelings. It did take me a little time at first to get into the story until I realized that part of the film felt like an eighty’s slapstick comedy, though it was kept to a small amount. When the movie ended, it did not leave me; I kept thinking about how easy it is to make assumptions about individuals without getting to know them. If the writers hoped they would get the viewer to think while entertaining them, they succeeded.
Flash Movie Review: Tyler Perry’s A Madea Homecoming
A FRIEND OF MINE ASKED ME to accompany her to a family wedding. I like dressing up from time to time, so I was happy to join her. She told me the ceremony and reception were both being held at a downtown hotel; so, this was going to be a large wedding. I had met several of her family members, but I was also familiar with others solely based on the stories she would tell me about them. We drove into the city and dropped off the car with the hotel’s parking attendant. Entering the hotel lobby, there was a pedestal signboard that listed the day’s events being held in their meeting and ballrooms. Her cousin’s name was the third one down, showing the wedding was being held in the Crystal Ballroom. I stopped to ask a hotel employee who directed us to a set of escalators that would take us up to the room. When we came to the top of the escalator, there was an open area around us that had small high-top tables with guests milling about. A bulbous older man came up to us and gave my friend a big bearhug. He then extended his hand out to me to shake. When I grasped it, I had to suppress the urge to recoil back from him because his hand was wet. He must have sensed something in me because he asked me to excuse him, he had just licked his hand clean from a messy appetizer. I was speechless for a second before he burst out laughing; he said he was just kidding and introduced himself to me. I wanted to run from him and go wash my hand. AFTER THAT FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH HER relative, I still was not prepared for what laid ahead. We mingled among the guests, and I was enjoying meeting the faces to match the stories she had told me about them for all these years. There was the aunt who loved her drinks, who would start dancing no matter where she was standing. She also did not need any music when she danced. At some point, a cousin came up to us and her first question was asking if the two of us were dating. Answering her cousin with a no, my friend grabbed my hand, and we made our way to where the ceremony was taking place. We got through it with no more interruptions from her relatives; however, once the dinner started all chaos started to take over. I felt like I was in the middle of an avant-garde movie, where the cast was experiencing psychotic episodes. The night consisted of a fight, guest passing out, foul language, unbearable long speeches; in other words, something like what I saw in this latest installment of the movie franchise. A COLLEGE GRADUATION PARTY BRINGS EVERYONE together at Madea’s, played by Tyler Perry (Gone Girl, Alex Cross) place for a celebration. How soon before things get out of control when it comes to Madea’s family? With Cassi Davis (Daddy’s Little Girl, House of Payne-TV) as Bam, David Mann (Computer Love, Meet the Browns-TV) as Mr. Brown, Jennifer Gibney (Agnes Browne, Mrs. Brown’s Boys-TV) as Cathy and Isha Blaaker (The Flight Attendant-TV, Red Riding Hoods-TV) as Davi; this dramatic, comedy romance was consistent with all the other films before it. If you have never seen a Madea movie, then you might find something entertaining if you look for it. I did not find anything new except the characters had a larger vocabulary. There was a decent message buried in the script; but when weighed against everything one must sit through to get to it, it did not seem worth the wait. There were a few lines and a couple of scenes that were amusing; but not enough to maintain my attention. I am glad I did not have to go to the movie theater to see this picture because if I had, I might have become one of those crazy guests from the wedding I attended.
1 ¾ stars
Flash Movie Review: The Tender Bar
DURING MY SCHOOL YEARS, MOST OF the best advice I got was from people I hardly knew at the start. There was a time during the day where I was removed from a study period because of a couple of bullies in the study hall. Since I played piano, I was assigned to take my study time in the school band’s office. I remember the first time I walked into the office, carrying my acceptance note. There were various string and horn instruments either sitting on stands or hanging on racks, with an upright piano in the far corner. The students in the room were individuals I recognized from walking the hallways but had never seen in my classes. Also, they were older than me; the majority were seniors. Once I was signed in, one of the students asked me what instrument did I play? When I said piano, he asked me to take a seat at the piano and play something for them. My first instinct was that I was being set up for some kind of prank, but I walked over and sat down on a piano bench I wasn’t sure could support my weight. I wondered for a moment on whether to play a classical piece of music; but thought for sure I would be teased for it. Instead, I played a Beatles’ song. Once I was done playing the several students in the room came over to congratulate me on being their new mascot. AS THE WEEKS PASSED BY, I became friendly with one of the seniors who had helped me a few times with my homework. He was a trumpet player who planned on going to an Ivy League school to become a doctor. Many times, we would just sit in the band office and talk about what was the latest going on in the world. However, he greatly helped me on how to navigate the time I would have at our school. Because of him, I found a safe place I could hide when my gym class was being held outside. This was valuable information to me because of the bullies in class who loved picking on a group of us outside when the gym teacher was not in sight. This senior also explained to me how I should apply to colleges when the time came for me to do so. The one thing I always wanted to know was whether he put in a good word for me because my music teacher became protective of me through the year. Either way I was grateful for their advice and help which I felt the young man in this dramatic movie was feeling as well on the advice given to him. FORCED TO LIVE AT HIS GRANDPARENTS’ house, a young boy finds a father figure at the local bar, to fill in for the father he has never seen. With Ben Affleck (The Way Back, The Accountant) as Uncle Charlie, Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One, Mud) as JR, Lily Rabe (No Reservations, Miss Stevens) as Mom, Christopher Lloyd ( Back to the Future franchise, Call of the Wild) as Grandpa and Rhenzy Feliz (All Together Now, Runaways-TV) as Wesley; this drama set in Long Island, NY was based on the memoir and I have to say, it was a beautiful story. However, it is a story we have seen before; but the difference is the incredible performances within the cast. Ben, Lily and Christopher were outstanding with their acting. The story is touching, providing a good deal of emotions. However, I would have appreciated if the writers had gone deeper into the characters; so, I could have felt more of a connection to them. With the sets and George Clooney’s direction, I enjoyed watching this even, slow paced film. The title of this movie pretty much says it all; this was overall a tender story.
2 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: Burning Sands
NO MATTER WHAT TOOK PLACE, THE one thing you could not do was cry. At least that is what was instilled into every boy in school. Not that I remember someone ever telling me that exactly, but I learned right away after one tear broke free from my eye and slid down my face. The teasing and name calling started immediately before I could get up from the ground. I was not sure if I was purposely tripped while running in the schoolyard; but I fell face forward onto the asphalt, ripping my pants and scraping off the skin of my knees and the palms of my hands. If someone asked if I was okay, I did not hear them through the laughter. I did not take it personally since the same thing happened to anyone who fell. Though if you were a girl you did not get teased about crying. How or why that distinction took place, I had no idea; it was just acceptable or maybe it was tolerated better if a girl was crying instead of a boy. One of the worst labels a student could get was being called a “crybaby.” Getting that label would put you on a quick path to being known as a sissy, at least amongst the boys. FROM THE EARLY TRAINING THAT TOOK place in elementary school, many boys grew a veneer of toughness. Some of the male students tried out for a sports team, figuring what they lacked in striking an opposing stature would be filled in with their athleticism. For those of us who wouldn’t or couldn’t compete in sports, we were left to fend for ourselves. A disconnect grew between those boys who were successful in portraying a tough exterior and those who chose not to or could not display toughness which by the way translated into manliness. Growing up in that kind of environment made me feel like something was wrong with me. By the time I made it to college, I found myself feeling more comfortable around female students than male. What drove this home for me was when I went to a fraternity’s open house during orientation week. Their house was this old Georgian style home with two white pillars that framed the front doorway. Going on a tour of the house, I heard about the history of the fraternity and its illustrious achievements in sports and community outreach. I do not know how to say this, but all the talking points I was hearing had competitive undertones that turned me off quickly. It seemed to me they were only interested in accepting those students who could display a “macho” exterior; something I sorely lacked. After watching this film festival nominated drama, I am so glad I never tried to be a pledge. HOPING TO SUCCEED WHERE HIS FATHER failed, college freshman Zurich, played by Trevor Jackson (Superfly, Eureka-TV), was determined to survive his chosen fraternity’s hell week, no matter what he was expected to do. With Tosin Cole (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Unlocked) as Frank, DeRon Horton (Dirt, Dear White People-TV) as Square, Alfre Woodard (12 Years a Slave, Annabelle) as Professor Hughes and Steve Harris (The Rock, The Practice-TV) as Dean Richardson; there were times when I felt I was actually watching pledges during hell week. The acting was cohesive among the cast which made there trials more realistic. I thought the script was decent; however, I wished the writers would have dug deeper into the students’ mentality and backgrounds. There was a level of predictability to the story; yet, I had to wonder how true the hazing incidents were being inflicted on the pledges. Maybe because I do not define masculinity in the same way as these fraternity brothers did; but they certainly proved I made the right decision when I chose not to pledge a fraternity when I was back in college.
2 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: The House
HAVING children less than 4 years apart in age, I asked how he was preparing for the overlapping college costs. When I was growing up I do not think parents thought as much about it as they do now. When I hear how much tuition costs currently, I cannot imagine how a family can navigate the burden of putting their kids through school. I used to work with a woman who had 6 children; each one was 2 years apart in age. If you do the math, she would have multiple financial costs of college weighing down on her for years. Maybe she expected all of her kids to get scholarships, but I so wanted to ask her how she was going to pay for all the schooling. Since it was none of my business I was not going to pry. There are adults I know who are still paying off their student loans even though they have been out of college for 20-30 years. UNLESS the child invents the latest computer app or web service becoming a millionaire and skipping college, many parents are left to come up with creative ways they and their children can meet their financial obligations. Now I realize not every child will go to college; in my circle of friends and family it was a given that we all had to continue our education after high school. I knew one parent who worked 2 jobs during the week and a part time job on the weekend to help defray the college costs. There are several families I know who steer their children to a 2 year college for an associate’s degree to complete the basic required courses; afterwards, they transfer to a 4 year university to complete their studies. By doing this their costs are less than going directly to a 4 year accredited school. I have heard of a variety of options parents have employed to save money for their children’s college costs, but I have never heard of the idea the parents in this comedy came up with to put their child through school. AFTER spending their daughter’s college funds parents Kate and Scott Johansen, played by Amy Poehler (Sisters, Mean Girls) and Will Ferrell (The Other Guys, Daddy’s Home), needed to come up with a way they could put their daughter through school. Thanks to their friend Frank, played by Jason Mantzoukas (Dirty Grandpa, The Dictator), there was a way the couple could swing it. This comedy also starred Ryan Simpkins (A Single Man, Revolutionary Road) as Alex Johansen and Nick Kroll (My Blind Brother, Parks and Recreation-TV) as Bob. I will say the idea to raise college money was creative; I was curious to see how it would play out in the story. There were a couple of laughs that came out of the script; however, for the rest of the script I was not getting into it. The acting was nearly non-existent from Amy and Will. They were no different from any of their other characters including their stints on Saturday Night Live. Making rude or vulgar comments usually do not lead to laughs and this script was no exception. Adding in the high level of predictability, I was bored most of the time. I hope this does not come across as rude but the people associated with this dud need to be schooled on how to create a smart, fun comedy. No passing grade for this one.
1 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: The Bye Bye Man
QUICK with a quip, he always placed himself in the front row of class. A good portion of the female members in class enjoyed having him stand in front of them. He had a good sense of rhythm which enabled him to pick up any new exercise moves in class. I knew this to be true because he attended my group fitness class for several months. Just a smidge shy of being 6 feet tall, he easily moved across the floor and had a good sense of body awareness. I knew some of the members watched him move because I always faced the class when teaching, so could see what their eyes were focused on. Usually members will look at themselves in the floor to ceiling mirrors behind me; but there was something about this guy woman preferred watching instead. AFTER attending class every week for several months he did not show up one day. A few members questioned where he could be, but other than that the absence was treated as an aberration. When he did not show up for the following class more members started asking about him. I had not heard anything. A few weeks had gone by and he still had not returned to class nor was seen anywhere else in the fitness center. Once in awhile a member would bring up his name but for the most part he became a memory. A few months afterwards I was walking down to the aerobic studio to teach a class and a member stopped me in the hallway. She asked if I had heard the news about that member who disappeared from class. I told her no; so she quickly proceeded to tell me about an article in the newspaper concerning a missing female roommate who was found dead in the truck of her car that was abandoned at the airport parking lot. Our former class participant was charged with the murder. The news traveled fast through the fitness center and everyone wondered how such a fun, happy go lucky guy could commit murder. This horror thriller may have provided the answer. COLLEGE friends Elliot, John and Sasha; played by Douglas Smith (Miss Sloane, Big Love-TV), Lucien Laviscount (One Night in Istanbul, Honeytrap) and relative newcomer Cressida Bonas; began experiencing frightening visions when they rented out an old house that had a past. Before the movie started I glanced around the theater and realized I had to be one of the oldest people in the auditorium. The crowd was predominantly high school and college aged people. Not that this would make any difference to me but the fact they seemed disappointed at the end of this poorly done film told me it must have been more horrible than I believed it to be. The story was bits and pieces of other movies and most importantly there was nothing scary about the villain, let alone any of the scenes. With a bare bones script there was nothing to lift the actors up into at least a mediocre level of acting. Maybe the trailers were enticing but this would be a waste of your time in my opinion.
1 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: Everybody Wants Some!!
I know I am not the only one, based on how many reactions I have witnessed from other people. Maybe it is due to the fallacy we have all been bombarded with on what is considered beautiful, but when I see old photos of myself my 1st reaction is usually disgust. Besides seeing me when I was larger and had a lot more hair, the pictures of what was considered fashion at the time look like I was wearing clown outfits. How did we wind up having a small minority of individuals deciding for the rest of the population what was in fashion? Now for those of you who are not familiar with the 1980s, it was a time where disco music was beginning to wane as country music was becoming more popular. Before cowboy hats and boots were the rage the clothing was made up of synthetic fibers splashed with colors not found in nature. Since I am a big music lover across many genres, I can recall what type of music was playing during that decade. Usually all I need to hear is a few beginning notes of a song and I can immediately recall where I was when I first heard that song. It is then followed by the emotions I was going through at that time. For those of you who lived through the 80s, there is a good chance you would have been found on the weekends at the disco. Asking someone to dance was the standard pickup line for that generation. If you want to see how it was done you can see it in this movie. WRITTEN and directed by Richard Linklater (Boyhood, Dazed and Confused), this comedy showed what life was like for a group of college baseball players in the 1980s. Starring Blake Jenner (Glee-TV) as Jake, Tyler Hoechlin (Road to Perdition, Teen Wolf-TV) as McReynolds, Ryan Guzman (The Boy Next Door, Heroes: Reborn-TV) as Roper and Zoey Deutch (Dirty Grandpa, Beautiful Creatures) as Beverly; the soundtrack to this film was awesome. Granted I am a fan of dance music so I spent a good portion of time tapping my feet to the beats while watching this picture. The story could be seen as a continuation of the director’s previous film Boyhood only because that film ended with the boy about to go to college and the character Jake entering college here. I enjoyed seeing what life was like back then; Richard Linklater painted an accurate and believable picture in my opinion. There was not much of a story as the scenes passed by showing college life for the students; there were no big dramatic shifts in the script. I did not find anything worth laughing out loud; however, there were times where I was amused by particular goofy scenes. For those who wish to see what that time period was like, this movie would fill your curiosity. And to those who lived through that era, please do not cringe when you see something that looks familiar to you.
3 1/3 stars
Flash Movie Review: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
There are several names I am familiar with such as cousins’ club, sibling night or family day. All these terms mean essentially the same thing: time is put aside to spend with one’s family. When I was growing up Sunday was family day for me; every Sunday was spent at a different relative’s house. It was an occasion for relatives to spend time together. Meeting on a frequent and consistent basis allowed all of us to grow up together and be aware of each other’s daily life for the most part. It was fortunate that the majority of the relatives lived no further than 1 hour away from each other. Now there are some families that hold a reunion, so all the family members get a chance to get together no matter where they may live. A specific date is chosen and word goes out to everyone to meet at a specific place and time. When a long passage of time has passed between visits there tends to be a lot of catching up to do between the relatives. I know how fun and exciting it can be to meet relatives that one has not seen for a long time. The happy occasion lends itself for some family members to continue the euphoria of the visit and plan another get together shortly after, “shortly” being a relative term. It is these next meetings that can turn out to be a letdown, compared to the previous get together. All the bringing up to date information was already covered and one discovers that there is not much else to talk about because with daily life events not being shared so often, people start to grow apart. For example it has been a long time since I have seen this family. WHAT Toula’s, played by Nia Vardalos (I Hate Valentine’s Day, Connie and Carla); father Gus, played by Michael Constantine (The Juror, Room 222-TV), used to tell her he now was telling her daughter: that she needed to find a Greek boy and marry him. The family could not understand why the young girl wanted to go away for college. This romantic comedy brought back some of the fun characters we enjoyed from the original movie, such as Aunt Voula and Maria, played by Andrea Martin (Wag the Dog, Delivering the Goods) and Lanie Kazan (Beaches, My Favorite Year). Though I was happy to see Voula’s extended family, I quickly lost interest in them due to the lame script. What made the first film funny and charming was rehashed for this picture which made it goofy and boring. The same types of jokes were used so often that it was easy to predict what was going to happen next. A sense of heart was missing from the script, replaced with dull mugging and humor. If this family has another reunion down the road I may have to decline the invitation; I did not have any warm feelings for them in this movie.
1 ¾ stars