Blessed Union

Ah, marriage. How sweet it is to discover, among all the recent wedding movies (Muriel's, My Best Friend's, Polish, Monsoon, etc.) that the institution's still inspiring. Trés Greek writer and star Nia Vardalos has crafted here a worldly wise and very funny script, the better to play opposite decidedly non-Greek trophy fiance John Corbett. He's easygoing while she's complicated by her seemingly endless, profoundly nationalistic and rather kooky family. Can they work it out? It's light fantasy, but lovely and astute, full of her frumpy-to-foxy evolution and his superbly subtle comic timing. There's just enough schmaltz for the multiplex, yet everything else rings refreshingly true, especially when the gushing, old-world pride of her parents (Lainie Kazan, Michael Constantine) mixes with the brittle niceness of his folks (Fiona Reid, Bruce Gray). Amid loads of culturally specific quirks--Windex as a cure-all; spitting on the bride for good luck--the project engenders a universality that director Joel Zwick, aided by composers Chris Wilson and Alexander Janko, delivers with great verve. Within this rich context, Vardalos lets us in on the dream of being "braver, prettier or just happy." Brava!


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