My Life In Ruins Directed by: Donald Petrie Cast: Nia Vardalos, Richard Dreyfuss Running Time: 1 hr 35 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: June 5th, 2009
Plot: A disgruntled American woman (Vardalos) giving tours in Greece learns about the world's truly most important sight - love.
Who’s It For? Anyone who may have had fun at Vardalos' Big Fat Greek Wedding should use their escapism money elsewhere.
Expectations: The trailer made this movie look kind of breezy. But how much blowing would this breeze be doing, and what scent would said wind be carrying?
Actors: Nia Vardalos as Georgia: Any hint of her comedic presence is ghostly here. If Vardalos did have jokes in this wreckage, they were stale beyond recognition. She can play both frumpy and pretty, but doesn't prove to us she's able to do much else. Score: 3
Richard Dreyfuss as Irv: At the start, Dreyfuss is fine playing a likable old dude who cracks jokes just to crack smiles. But when he can't settle for that position, he battles his own career dilapidation by becoming a corndog of a mentor - at one point role playing as the Oracle of Delphi. Seriously, people ask him advice while he crouches behind a hole, and he dishes it to them as if he were the Almighty Dreyfuss. It's an incredibly arrogant moment that both the actor and the entire film should feel great shame for. It also marks the tipping point where My Life In Ruins falls off the balance beam of "aggravating" and starts becoming one of the most painful movies released this year.
Talking: Dreyfuss' suffocatingly lame bits of wisdom aren't the only murmurs of idiocy that My Life In Ruins has to offer. The film probably has the bragging rights of being the the first movie to use the romantic phrase "your butt is too small" as a prelude to a kiss. Overall, a great amount of the pain of My Life comes from its dialogue. This movie might actually be sufferable if it were a silent film. Score: 2
Sights: Judging by the credits, it seems like a lot of this film was shot in Spain, not Greece. This trickiness is only noticeable when the camera is shooting inside the bus, as green screen usage looks more obvious than usual. More distracting than all of this is Rita Wilson's cameo, which is divided into two appearances: her picture is inside a locket, and then she appears in the flesh during an unbearably corny dream sequence. Score: 3
Sounds: Randy Newman's composer cousin David Newman provides a score seemingly legitimate to the Greek sound. I'd be hard pressed to prove him wrong, so congrats, David, on earning the highest grade in this review. Score: 5
Best Scene: To not completely hate my life afterwards, (not My Life,) I made myself a frozen pizza. It was pretty good.
Ending: Even garbage bags can be tied up nicely.
Questions: Can I quote "Sloop John B" accurately by saying, "This is the worst trip - I've ever been on"?
Rewatchability: A movie that shouldn't be stomached once certainly can't be imagined of even having the option of being viewed a second time.
The international tourist sub-characters tell jokes that are lazier than their construction, and thus become even more annoying when they all congregate with their excess baggage and failed wit. Vardalos is far from a savior in this wreckage, offering no humor to save this supposed vacation. Her life isn't in Ruins, it just sucks. How is that funny?
My Life In Ruins is its own never-ending bus ride. But this one has lackluster sights, irritating co-passengers, and worst of all, a boring tour guide. The end of this disaster is its highest failure, as it veers out of control and barrels into a giant mountain of feta cheese. But you're in Hell - not Greece.
Final Score: 2/10