Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

My Life in Ruins

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content
Profanity:Some mild language
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references, some crude, and non-explicit situations
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking
Violence/Scariness:Character becomes ill, comic peril
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters
Movie Release Date:June 5, 2009
DVD Release Date:October 6, 2009
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content
Profanity: Some mild language
Nudity/Sex: Sexual references, some crude, and non-explicit situations
Alcohol/Drugs: Drinking
Violence/Scariness: Character becomes ill, comic peril
Diversity Issues: Diverse characters
Movie Release Date: June 5, 2009
DVD Release Date: October 6, 2009

Everything that made the adorable “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” so winning is missing from this tired and formulaic sitcom of a movie about an American tour guide in Greece. “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” with writer/star Nia Vardalos, was filled with charm, heart, originality, and vivid detail. Now Vardalos stars — but did not write — “My Life in Ruins.” It is as tired as its title, a drawn-out sitcom of a movie that tries to charm us with thin jokes about ignorant tourists who travel around the world but don’t want to see anything.

Vardalos plays Georgia, an American of Greek heritage who went to Greece to teach but lost her job and is now stuck working for a small company with two tour buses. The other guide gets the one with the good air conditioning and the happy, easy-going customers. Georgia gets the bad bus, the bad hotels, and the cranky tourists. Plus the guy who is always making corny jokes (Richard Dreyfuss) — not that they are any better than the rest of the jokes in the movie — and some Australians who appear to be cheerful but whom no one can understand. Georgia sees this as a way to teach the visitors about the glory and history of Greece, to have them “bask in history” and “to be a part of the birth of civilization.” But they think they are on vacation and what she has in mind feels too much like work. All they want to do is eat ice cream and buy souvenirs.

Advertisement

And the new tour bus driver has a name that sounds like a bad word and a huge fuzzy beard. You think she’ll be surprised when she finds out that he speaks English and understands what she’s been saying? You’re right! You think it will be funny when it happens? You’re wrong. You think the tour bus driver will shave and turn out to be handsome so that Georgia can recover her “kefi” (Greek for mojo)? You’re right! You think it will make the movie entertaining? You’re wrong!

Advertisement

Vardalos looks uncomfortably skinny and as though she knows she could have written a better script. “Saturday Night Live’s” Rachel Dratch is wasted as the kind of tourist who is always looking for the Hard Rock Cafe or an international branch of Curves. And then there is the warring couple with the mopey teenage daughter who — here’s a surprise — won’t take the earbuds out of her ears. The stereotypes are not awful because they are predictable. After all, they become stereotypes because they happen so often. They are awful because they are so thin and superficial and phony. It is ironic that while Georgia is whining about how tourists do not appreciate the grandeur and history of the ancient ruins, the movie itself feels as though it is the cinematic equivalent of a chintzy souvenir. It is a shame to spoil the beautiful scenery with these vaudeville-era jokes. Georgia may find her kefi in this film, but the script never does.

Previous Posts

Trailer: Disney's Descendants With the Next Generation of Villains
Coming to the Disney Channel this summer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4UUQqefajc& ...

posted 3:47:40pm Apr. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Men in Suits: Costume Designers Talk about "Scandal," "Mad Men," and More Suit-Wearing Characters on TV
The women's clothes get all the attention, but for a costume designer -- and for the actor -- a suit is just as important. Indiewire ...

posted 3:27:23pm Apr. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Matt Mamula of Celebrity Impersonator Documentary "Just About Famous"
Matt Mamula co-directed "Just About Famous," the very entertaining new documentary about celebrity impersonators. He generously took time to talk to me about the unexpected opportunities that open up when someone looks like someone who becomes ...

posted 3:59:51pm Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Barak Goodman of "Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies"
Director Barak Goodman talked to me about his superb series for PBS, Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, now available on DVD. The series is produced ...

posted 3:55:04pm Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Creativity Conference 2015: Nancy Pelosi, Snoopy, and Drones with GoPros
I had so much fun at last year's Creativity Conference that I could not imagine how they could top it this year, but they succeeded. This is ...

posted 3:07:48pm Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.