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My Life in Ruins

A 2009 movie directed by Donald Petrie/

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The worst film ever made?

  • Oct 12, 2009
  • by
Rating:
-4
I was pondering this question over the weekend, having been subjected to a variety of unwatchable material over the last decade. The competition in the 'worst ever' category is pretty stiff though, including abominations such as Batman & Robin, Gigli, Catwoman and The Postman (apparently sometimes called Fishtar). When you add The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or The Mummy 4, there's some real strength in this category, making it hard to dislodge the imcumbents.

It's quite rare that something so terrible comes along in Netflix that I'm forced to consider a new champion, so it warrants serious thought. Was it worse than You Don't Mess With The Zohan or Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo? Maybe not... ok, it's probably more watchable than any of those.

But not by far. Five minutes in, and I reached for my laptop to see if this was really made by the people behind My Big Fat Greek Wedding. This is just like the kind of rough draft you would get from a screenwriting workshop in an hour, but they stopped refining it any further and started filming right there.

Plot: "An uptight Greek historian who gives tours to unappreciative visitors learns to relax and finds life, love and happiness."

As any screenwriting student will note here, where's the story? Where's the obstacle? Anyway, even given that flaw, the next 90 minutes throws every stereotype into the mix, including:
  • Her boss thinks she's useless and wants her to quit.
  • Her tour boss is old and rickety and driven by a maniac. A/C doesn't work.
  • There are factions of Brits, Aussies, Americans, etc. who all act perfectly in stereotype (respectively: obnoxious and elitist, drunk and unintelligible, loud and dumb). Hilarity ensues.
  • She has a rival tour host who makes her look bad.
  • Every hotel they go to is a dumb.
As with many "foreigner in another country" scripts, all the action, drama and development comes from oh-so-funny cultural differences, misunderstandings, and good old fashioned prejudices - then the eventual learning to enjoy all the above. Yawn. But none of this would be as awful if the jokes weren't so embarrassingly weak. National Lampoon European's Vacation was no character study beyond this, but at least it was amusing. As for this, I didn't laugh once, and I'm really prone to laughter.

Here's an example:

Our hero has a flower left on her seat from an unknown admirer. At the back of the bus, a man is rubbing suncream on his face and gets some in his eye. When she turns around to look, he appears to be winking at her, and she now thinks he put the flower there.

This of course becomes a plot point, since the driver - who is inexplicably now in love with her - is angered by her amorous advances to the suncream guy. But it's ok, since they have 'a date' and it turns out he's really, really dull.

Anyway, that aside, the dialog, acting, directing, photography - well, just everything - wouldn't have passed for daytime TV. Even the scenery shots seem over-exposed. We had to stop about 20 minutes from the end, so I don't know for sure what happened but I would bet a substantial amount of money that I can predict it, since it was signaled pretty obviously all the way through. 

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More My Life in Ruins reviews
Quick Tip by . June 08, 2010
I'm biased because i'm Greek and I love Greece, but I liked this movie. It wasn't GREAT, it was just cute.
review by . October 10, 2009
DVD
Georgia (Nia Vardalos) is an American living in Greece and working as a tour guide. She hates her job, thinks all tourists are idiots, and is sick of Greece, too. But on her next four-day trip everything will change for the better, thanks to the quirky members of her tour and her moody bus driver.       This movie had so much potential but is really terrible. It's neither funny nor romantic and the dopey cast is always blocking our view of beautiful Greece. The plot is a lackluster …
review by . January 27, 2010
My Life In Ruins is the follow up movie with Nia Vardalos, My Big Fat Greek Wedding (My Big Fat Greek Wedding). Where Wedding had incredible charm, and humor; Ruins is just a bus wreck on the highways of Greece with little charm and a little bit of humor. The second act was a bit better than the first, but this is still a not good movie.    Nia Vardalos plays Georgia the true Greek tour guide that wants to teach all of her tourists about the wonders and history of Greece. Her …
review by . October 21, 2009
   Not quite Greek Wedding, this flick has its moments of charm and is at times amusing. However, it feels more like a Lifetime movie than a Hollywood blockbuster. The humor gets annoyingly sexual and predictable. For example, the bad guy in the film gives a t-shirt to someone on the "opposing side." The guy puts it on, not knowing what the Greek characters say, and becomes an instant magnet for certain locals. Turns out it was implying he was searching for a boyfriend. The romantic …
review by . October 21, 2009
Not quite Greek Wedding, this flick has its moments of charm and is at times amusing. However, it feels more like a Lifetime movie than a Hollywood blockbuster. The humor gets annoyingly sexual and predictable. For example, the bad guy in the film gives a t-shirt to someone on the "opposing side." The guy puts it on, not knowing what the Greek characters say, and becomes an instant magnet for certain locals. Turns out it was implying he was searching for a boyfriend. The romantic thread is predictable …
review by . October 12, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
So is My Life in Ruins as funny as the surprise hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Maybe not quite there, but I think it's pretty close. The jokes are funny, but the film is moving as well. Richard Dreyfuss brings a lot to the film, combining comedy with wisdom. As the characters begin to enjoy themselves on the trip to Greece, the viewer will too.    Only problem: I wish the DVD had deleted scenes. I'd love to see what was spliced out.
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James Beswick ()
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Wiki

The combination of the appealing Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and the breathtaking location shooting in Greece makeMy Life in Ruinsthe perfect film escape. The film works as a feather-light romantic comedy, with Vardalos's character, Georgia, facing burnout in her job with a cut-rate tour company in Greece. Georgia knows there's magic in the Greek countryside and history, yet the grind of her job has drained her. Happily for Georgia, her latest group of semi-challenging tourists will help her shed some of her hard-built personal armor, guiding her to cut loose as the tour progresses (a journey mirrored in Vardalos's hairstyle, which starts out prim, and ends up attractively tousled). The strong supporting cast includes Richard Dreyfus--seeming very comfortable playing an old coot--Rachel Dratch, Rita Wilson, and the dreamy Greek actor Alexis Georgoulis, a bus driver with the soul of a poet. And possibly a secret crush on the oblivious Georgia. But the true star of the film is Greece itself, from the coastline to the mountains, from the Acropolis to the Parthenon. That so few American films are shot on location makes this summer treat even more appealing--as sweet as fresh baklava. --A.T. Hurley

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Details

Director: Donald Petrie
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: June 05, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: October 6, 2009
Runtime: 95 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
First to Review
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