TEXAS, USA — Friends and family are at the themes of this week's movie offerings -- for your entertainment's better or worse.
MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 3
It was 21 years ago that Nia Vardalos charmed audiences in her breakout hit "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." There was a sequel a few years ago, too. Now it's time for "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3."
This go around, Toula's beloved father has died (the late Michael Constantine.), and she and other family members travel to Greece to fulfill his dying wish of connecting with his childhood friends. And, yes, there is a wedding in the film, too.
Vardalos once again wrote the screenplay and directed this one. I would love to celebrate her. And who doesn't like some John Corbett to brighten up the day? But the film just isn't funny at all. (A running gag is centered around brother Nick's manscaping. See what I mean?)
Worse, the film doesn't even take full advantage of the vistas!
The best part of this one is the opening shot of a bountiful display of Greek food. The rest feels like leftovers.
Focus Features. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1 hr. 31 mins. In Theaters Only.
ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE
I was the only person in the theater for a late-night preview of this movie, and the film deserves to have far more eyes on it. It will, I'm confident, on word of mouth.
Based on the young adult novel by Benjamin Alire Saenz, it's set in El Paso and also filmed there. Here, two teen guys become fast friends bonding, at first, over their unique names and Dante's offer to give Ari swim lessons. But when open-hearted Dante's affection grows, Ari shuts him off. Can they realize the value of their feelings before it's too late?
Max Pelayo and Reese Gonzales are revelations in the lead roles. Texas friend Eva Longoria also has a nice turn as Dante's adoring mom.
Blue Fox. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1 hr. 36 mins. In Theaters Only.
SITTING IN BARS WITH CAKE
They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. In "Sitting in Bars with Cake," aspiring music agent Corinne convinces her best friend Jane to share her knack for baking with the guys of Los Angeles. The idea: Bring her awesome cakes to bars once a week for a year, and see what bites! They call it 'cake barring', and the experiment was inspired by true events.
Things take a turn when Corinne receives life-altering news, and Jane's devotion to her only grows.
This is a nice little movie from "Pitch Perfect 3" director Trish Sie about the depth of female friendship. Odessa A'zion and "Grown-ish's" Yara Shahidi are refreshing as the besties at its heart.
Without giving too much away, it's no coincidence that "Beaches" star Bette Midler was cast in a featured role.
Amazon Studios. Rated PG-13. Running time: 2 hrs. Streaming Only.