Unfortunately for Vardalos, the proof is in the proverb: you really can’t step in the same river twice or, it seems, three times.
On paper, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 seeks to move the story forward by revisiting the past: Toula and her entire extended family must honour their father’s dying wish by returning to his village in Greece and attending a reunion with his childhood friends.
Sadly, there is some truth in this narrative device, which incorporates the real-life passing of Michael Constantine, the actor who played the family’s patriarch, Gus, in the first two films.
But mostly, it feels more like an excuse for the cast to spend a few months filming in Greece, not that you can blame them; Corfu looks idyllic, and there are just enough drone shots of the Acropolis to make you appreciate its glory.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Greece steals the show while the rest of the cast struggles to get out of holiday mode. John Corbett, who is having the strangest career renaissance of all time, doesn’t appear to know if he’s playing Aidan in And Just Like That… or Ian in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but no one seems to mind.
Meanwhile, Australian Gia Carides is possibly the best bit of the film, but criminally underused; see also former N*Sync star Joey Fatone.
There are some lazy attempts at modernising the story. Aunt Voula (Andrea Martin) praises the “alternative lifestyle” of Victory (Melina Kotselou), the town’s non-binary mayor. “My daughter is divorced, and my son is gay. Do you like to wear boy clothes?” Oh, OK.
Ultimately, this has never been a franchise that relied on subtlety, instead offering charm and heart to paper over the cracks. This time round even the warm and fuzzy bits feel forced, and it’s hard not to feel that My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 won’t be the happily ever after Vardalos was hoping for.