My Life in Ruins comes billed as "from the star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding," but it could just as truthfully be billed as "from the director of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days." Both are romantic comedies from about six years ago, and if Greek Wedding put Nia Vardalos on the map with the same basic schtick she reprises in My Life in Ruins, the new film's randy humor is closer in spirit to director Donald Petrie's How to Lose a Guy than to the tame PG Greek Wedding.
If in the end My Life in Ruins isn't as outright unpleasant as How to Lose a Guy, it falls well short of the simple charm of Greek Wedding. Where Greek Wedding offered a satirical take of old-world family ways as fond and familiar as it was stereotyped, My Life in Ruins offers roundly stereotyped caricatures of just about everybody, but without the fondness or familiarity.
Set in Greece, where Vardalos's character Georgia, an out-of-work Greek-American history professor who has lost her kafe (which seems to be Greek for "mojo"), works at a charter tour agency rather than a travel agency, the movie offers a microcosm of humanity on a tour bus. The movie's running joke, and it's not necessarily a bad one, is that tourists are less interested in seeing historically significant sites and learning about culture and history than they are in eating ice cream and shopping for souvenirs.
For Georgia, it is maddening to spend a week trying to enrich and educate tourists who really want to pose for photos with their faces on headless standees of Zeus and Athena and go home with a 50 percent polyester T-shirt with a Trojan horse. "Why," Georgia wonders, "am I spending my time showing gorgeous ruins to tourists who care nothing about them?" The flip side is the heap of "Average" ...1
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My Life in Ruins
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