The movie is pretty straightforward: Ian and Toula meet, they date, they bashfully discover they like one another, the families uneasily coexist, the wedding becomes inevitable, and it takes place (when Ian's mother brings a Bundt cake to the pre-nuptial dinner, no one has the slightest idea what it is). One key shot shows the church, with the bride's side jammed, and the groom's handful of WASP relatives making a pathetic show in their first four rows. Toula explains to Ian that she has 27 first cousins, and at a pre-nuptial party, she even introduces some of them: "Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nicky--and Gus." The underlying story of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" has been played out countless times as America's immigrants have intermarried. If the lovers have understanding (or at least reluctantly flexible) parents, love wins the day and the melting pot bubbles. This is nicely illustrated by Toula's father, Gus. He specializes in finding the Greek root for any word (even "kimono"), and delivers a toast in which he explains that "Miller" goes back to the Greek word for apple, and "Portokalos" is based on the Greek word for oranges, and so, he concludes triumphantly, "in the end, we're all fruits."
The hope for "Monsoon Wedding" is that those who like it will drag their friends into the theater. There's such an unreasonable prejudice in this country against any film that is not exactly like every other film. People cheerfully attend assembly-line junk but are wary of movies that might give them new experiences or take them new places. "Monsoon Wedding," which won the Golden Lion as the best film at Venice 2001, is the kind of film where you meet characters you have never been within 10,000 miles of, and feel like you know them at once.