Nia Vardalos, along with husband-and-wife producers Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, hit the big time by accident with My Big Fat Greek Wedding, so they figure let’s try it again with My Life in Ruins.
This time, Vardalos is an uptight American with a degree in ancient history who is slumming as a tour guide in Greece because she can’t find a university job. And, get this, she can’t find a guy either, which makes sense because this is supposed to be a romantic comedy. So she’s stuck herding tourist clichés around while the perfect guy, an excessively hairy tour-bus driver named Poupi (Alexis Georgoulis), is only a new razor away.
Vardalos has her own brand of ditzy charm and a certain kind of attractiveness that sneaks up on you. It’s too bad the movie is so contrived it fails to even insult our intelligence. I spent far more time wishing I were at home watching If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969). That movie charted a similar course but at least had the decency to not treat the viewer like a lovesick boob.
When did we become so enamored with the idea that every misguided love affair has to end happily ever after? Sometimes a love of life and the ancient ruins is all you need. If only Vardalos, Hanks and Wilson had really gone Greek, this comedy might have achieved a higher romantic ideal. Grade: D
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