If you don’t like predictable love stories filled with cliches then this movie is not for you. If you don’t like humor and beautiful scenery then this movie is not for you. But most of all, if you can’t laugh at stereotypes about American tourists in Greece then this movie is definitely not for you. I, for one, lov romantic comedies and Nia Vardalos so I was anxious to see Donald Petrie’s movie, My Life in Ruins.
Although Nia is great as Georgia in the movie, I think Richard Dreyfuss steals the show as funnyman “Irv.” He is always making jokes and although not all are funny, that does not stop him from continuing to be entertaining. Irv becomes an almost angel-like guide who helps Georgia move in a better direction. The relationship between the two and their chemistry on-screen carries the movie. Nia says of co-star Richard:
The amazing thing about my life is that I’ve gotten to work with a lot of people I admire. He was charming, funny and a consummate professional. One of my favorite moments was shooting that scene when we’re sitting on the piano bench and I thought, ‘I am having a close encounter with Richard Dreyfuss!’
My absolute favorite character was Dorcas, played by Sheila Bernette, who is this little old lady and you would never expect she would ever steal anything but she is a kleptomaniac. Throughout the movie she gets gifts for the others on the tour with her and they always tell her she shouldn’t have and she says “it was no problem.” Little do they know, it really was free.
The movie is about an American girl who moves to Greece to teach history and ends up being a tour guide. Along the way she has lost her kefi which is the Greek version of her mojo. Her boss, Maria (Bernice Stegers), seems to hate her and gives her the bad bus (with a broken AC system), bad driver (who looks like he hasn’t shaved or cut his hair in years), bad hotel rooms and worst of all, the bad tour group consisting of the loudmouth Americans, the stuffy Brits and their sullen daughter, the alcoholic Australians, a couple of recently divorced and hot-to-trot Spanish ladies, a workaholic IHOP sales rep and a senior citizen couple.
All Georgia wants to do is teach her tour group about the history of the country that she loves so much and all they want to do is go to the beach. Maria tells Georgia, “Nobody comes to Greece to learn.” While going off with her latest tour group, Georgia makes up her mind that she is going to quit because she has had enough of her job and her always ass-kissing co-worker Nico (Alistair McGowan).
Nia Vardalos sells her character. You see just how fed up Georgia is with the way her life is going. After her bonding moment with Irv, where he encourages her to open up, she has a wonderful transformation.
Being a helpless romantic, my favorite storyline was the relationship between Georgia and Poupi (Alexis Georgoulis), the strong, silent Greek bus driver that falls for Georgia Poupi compares being a bus driver to being a composer, “the scenery is the music” he tells Georgia. It takes most of the movie for the two to come together but all most of the story-lines in the movie, you know that it is eventually going to happen.
FAVORITE LINE: (After Georgia tells Irv he is like God since he helps make things happen):
“Georgia, I haven’t made a number two since Chicago. If I was God I would fix that first.”
The movie takes place in Greece. One of the best parts of the movie is the beautiful scenery and all the historical sites that are visited. Visiting Greece is one of the factors that closed director Donald Petrie on the project:
“I read about Olympia and Delphi and the Acropolis and all these different places, but even though I could look on a map, you never know until you get there. So I went to Greece where I fell more deeply in love with the project and Greece.”
In the end, Georgia finds her kefi and decides she doesn’t want to quit after all.
I would give this movie a 3 out of 5. Although it’s predictable it does it’s job as a feel good movie.
Watch the trailer…