ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth through you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

My BIg Fat Greek Wedding (2001), PG
Analysis Date: April 19, 2002
CAP Score: 73
CAP Influence Density: 0.48

MinMax: -47

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING (PG) -- most of it is wholesome and gentle but some is not.

Distributed by: Lions Gate
Director(s): Joel Zwick
Producer(s): Paul Brooks, Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, Mark Hufnail, Melissa Jo Peltier, Steve Shareshian, Norm Waitt, Rita Wilson
Written by/Screenplay: Nia Vardalos
Cinematography/Camera: Jeff Jur
Music: Xandy Janko
Film Editing: Mia Goldman
Casting: Meg Liberman, Camille H. Patton
Art Direction: Kei Ng

I know nothing of the modern Greek culture other than what the movies tell me. But if My Big Fat Greek Wedding is accurate to the lifestyle of the Greek family, America would do well to take example from the Greeks. Some top notch family values and ethics are presented in this warm and quite touching film about the daughter of a Greek American family breaking with tradition and (initially) breaking her father's head-of-the-house heart. Something we men can take a little tail-between-the-legs lesson from in this movie is the portrayal of the husband/wife relationship. You know. The husband, Gus Portokalos (Michael Constantine) in this case is, by Gods' Word, the head of the wife and family. The final authority. The last word. The big honcho, etc. But Gus' wife, Maria (Lainie Kazan) saw things a little differently. This movie, though a fantasy, puts a fine point to the husband/wife relationship by reminding us husbands that while we can be the head as much as we want, the wife is the neck. And the neck can turn the head any which way she wants. Sure, we can argue that the head contains the brain and gives commands to the rest of the body, but the head would not be there if it were not for the neck. Yes, we can argue all we want but since the wife is the neck, which contains the voice box, we may not get a word in edgewise.

Toula Portokalos (Nia Vardalos) was the 30 year old daughter of Gus Portokalos (Michael Constantine) working in the family restaurant, the Dancing Zorbas as the seating hostess. Toula was unhappy. She thought she was too old to honor her father's wishes that she marry a Greek, have Greek babies, and feed everyone. Time and time again, Gus reminded her of this. Resigning herself to her father's assessment of her, Toula got the idea to take some computer classes so she could help her father streamline his antiquated business operations.

One day, an acquaintance came into the restaurant with a friend, Ian Miller (John Corbett). Toula spied Ian. Her chemistry kicked in. But Toula tried everything to avoid letting Ian see her. She stood with her back to him. She crouched to her neck behind the counter. She always looked down. Anything to keep Ian from seeing her. She could not let anything grow of this! He was not Greek. Her father would never approve! But each attempt failed. Ian spied Toula and a spark ignited.

Shortly after meeting Ian, Gus, thinking it was his idea not knowing the neck turned the head, agreed to let Toula work at a freind's tourist agency sine Toula knew computers now and no one else in the family knew how to use them as well as Tioula and the tourist agency was run by operating computers. But even that turn of the neck didn't work to save Toula from the discomfort of causing her father's disapproval. Toula discovered she just had to let things happen. Oh, darn! Now Toula had to choose between her father's wishes and this tall, good looking, nice guy who loves her for who she is.

One day, Ian strolled by the tourist agency where Toula worked and spied her. Another day came and Ian strolled by again. Another day. Another stroll. And another. On onee of the several days that Ian strolled by the tourist agency, as he was casually eyeballing Toula, he ran into an elderly lady and fell to the sidewalk. While Ian was on the ground the elderly lady swatted him several times with her handbag. Ian graciously apologized for running into the lady and accepted the beating. There was gold in that scene. A scene in National Security reminded me of this scene with Ian. In National Security, Officer Hank tried to commandeer a vehcile from a motherly lady by telling her "GET OUT OF THE CAR!" She slapped him silly several times and told him "Didn't your momma teach you anything about manners?" And Officer Hank took the slaps graciously. We would do well to embrace what these two scenes are saying. Honor the mothers, folks. Honor them. For they care for the children who each have angels which behold the face of the Father. [Matt. 18:10]

Eventually, Ian gathered enough courage to go inside the tourist agency to meet Toula face to face. Now the bells and whistles and rockets started. Romance began. A clandestine romance filled their nights. To hide the Romeo and Juliet escapades, the pair continued their secret love hidden from Toula's parents, continued it while Toula attended "another night class", a pottery class in which not the first ounce of clay is molded. Not in classs, anyway

Now the physical aspects began. To describe the progression of physical involvement between Ian and Toula, let me tell you about the old Ford Motor Company torque system. Before precision torque wrenches were developed to tighten bolts to precision tension so the bolt heads would not pop off due to heat expansion during full opertating temperature, the FoMoCo developed the body measurement of torque to apply to bolts: finger tighten, full hand (with wrench), full hand and forearm, full arm, full arm and shoulder, full body. On their first date - after pottery class, dontcha know - when Ian dropped Toula off at her home, he gave her a "finger tighten" kiss. On the third or fourth date, it was a "full hand" kiss. It wasn't long before the kiss was "full body." [Gal. 5:19, Eph. 5:5] Yes, there was intercourse in this PG movie. It was TV soap opera caliber intercourse with her appearing to be fully clothed and he nude with no genitals or other privates seen, but this unmarried couple obviously had been engaged in immoral intercourse. Indeed, it is because of the sexual content that this movie earned the red CAPAlert light.

There is much more to the story and most of it is wholesome and gentle, but some is not. There are other sexual improprieties in it plus some uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary [Prov. 13:3, 2Tim. 2:16] and drinking and smoking. God's name is used in vain eight times but without the four letter expletive [Deut. 5:11]. The listing in the Findings/Scoring section tells all that was noted.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Matt. 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
  • Gal. 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;...
  • Eph. 5:5 For of this you can be sure: No [unforgiven] immoral, impure or greedy person -such a man is an idolater -has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
  • Prov. 13:3 He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.
  • 2Tim. 2:16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain [shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity]: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless [naqah {naw-kaw'}: blameless, innocent] that taketh his name in vain.

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2001) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • none noted

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • six uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • adolescent tormenting
  • showing disgust for parents
  • lies
  • teacher kissing woman in school hallway
  • joking about killing

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • necking in car and apartment
  • covered intercourse
  • self touching to adjust
  • excessive cleavage
  • anatomical references
  • adults in underwear

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • booze
  • drinking
  • drunkenness

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • eight uses of God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

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    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our nearly seven years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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