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My Life In Ruins

Nia Vardalos as Georgia and Alexis Georgoulis as Poupi in Donald Petrie's romantic comedy "My Life In Ruins", which opened today in the U.S. and Canada. 
(Photo: Teresa Isasi/Fox Searchlight)

Ruinous In Greece, Via Vardalos
By Omar P.L. Moore/    SHARE
Friday, June 5, 2009

Ten years or so after "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" Nia Vardalos ventures to Greece as a uptight, pent-up tour guide to an eclectic group of tourists in "My Life In Ruins", which opened today across the U.S. and Canada.  As directed by Donald Petrie and written by Mike Reiss (Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are executive producers), "My Life" lacks spark.  Miss Vardalos is a warm, beautiful and sensual presence as Georgia but the situations her character are immersed in often appear too cartoonish or staged to be smooth or believable.  Granted, Mr. Petrie's film is a fairly tranquil comedy overall but it feels pasted together by paper maché instead of a solid foundation.  The cameras of cinematographer José Luis Alcaine take full advantage of glorious views of Greece and its ancient ruins but even these splendid visages of the country aren't enough to prevent this romantic comedy from disintegrating.

While the screenplay affords Georgia one or two convenient and funny lines, the film is amazingly unfunny in total and Miss Vardalos, a good screenwriter and decent actress in her own right, comes across here as flat and uninspired.  Sure, her character has passion, and the film opens up as Georgia loosens up, but overall "My Life In Ruins" has less air in it than it deserves.  There's Poupi, the long-haired swarthy Lothario type (Alexis Georgoulis) who has an eye for Georgia.  There's the two women who look more like whores than they do women in search of love (maybe they're both?)  And in the only bit of good casting there's Richard Dreyfuss as Irv, a widower on his first tour since losing his wife.  Mr. Dreyfuss infuses his character with humor and heart, possessing qualities that must have endeared his late onscreen wife (played by Rita Wilson, Mr. Hanks' wife).  He is the lone bright spot, dispensing wisdom and humor in an affecting fashion.  Mr. Dreyfuss appears too smart for the rest of the people in the film, and perhaps a film just focusing on he and Miss Vardalos may have been a better vehicle.

With: María Adánez, Sheila Bernette, María Botto, Rachel Dratch, Caroline Goodall, Ralph Nossek, Sophie Stucker, Bernice Stegers , Alistair McGowan and Harland Williams.

"My Life In Ruins" is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association Of America for sexual content.  The film's duration is one hour and 36 minutes.

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