Starring Nia Vardalos and Richard Dreyfuss. Rated PG.
Hold onto your kebabs. There’s a radically outrageous, cutting-edge joke in My Life in Ruins, a Greece-set romantic comedy starring Nia Vardalos. It’s a foul-mouthed shocker, a landmark of filthy funny. Ready? Okay: the tour-bus driver’s name is Poupi Kakas. Get it?
Watch the trailer for My Life In Ruins.
If that gem made you have to change your pants, then hop aboard this less than Homeric odyssey. Vardalos, writer-star of the 2002 indie smash My Big Fat Greek Wedding, saw something in TV scribe Mike Reiss’s script to sign up to play Hellenic-American tour guide Georgia, who’s supposed to be a classics professor but instead herds moronic tourists around the old country.
Maybe it was the prospect of love ’n’ stuff with the aforementioned Poupi (Alexis Georgoulis). Poupi initially looks like Zorba the Yeti, but several shaves turn him into a smoking-hot Adonis.
Poupi isn’t the only scenery. Vardalos and ho-hum director Donald Petrie (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) seemingly got carte blanche from Olympia to Delphi to the Acropolis. Those breathtaking Parthenon shots do make you want to weep. And the featherweight, cliché-riddled story makes you want to hit yourself over the head with a bottle of Ouzo.
Georgia’s problem? She’s lost her kefi. That’s Greek for mojo, and, no, we’re not talking happy dust. Vardalos still has big fat real-girl charm, but, hey, Petrie has her clambering about those rocky ruins in freaky-high heels. Plus, Georgia has a tourist group fulfilling every tiresome stereotype: obnoxious Americans (including an unfunny Rachel Dratch), tanked Aussies, stick-up-the-ass Brits, klepto septuagenarians, and horny Spanish divorcees.
Speaking of happy dust, affable Richard Dreyfuss is along as a wisecracking widower turned sappy-wise oracle. Cute jokes abound about Greeks only being capable of napping and dancing, with TV-screen glimpses of Anthony Quinn in a certain classic flick for inspiration. Unfortunately, this tale’s flaky filo-sophy is a feta-ccompli.