Published Jun 04, 2009There are a lot of poo jokes in My Life in Ruins. In fact, the film goes so far as to name a central character Poupi "Poopie" Kakkas, and his nephew Doudi "Doodie" Kakkas. Anytime the names Poupi or Doudi are said out loud characters laugh, roll their eyes or react in a manner that might be best described as a visual drum roll. While poo can indeed be funny given the right circumstances (not here), it's difficult to see how an abundance of it in a particularly patronizing Nia Vardalos rom-com would ingratiate the film to anyone.
Starting out with some pedantic voiceovers, we learn that Georgia (Nia Vardalos), a failed teacher turned travel guide, hates her life (hence the "punny" title) and is a crappy tour guide to the Greek ruins. The reason: she's cultured and refined, while the tourists she guides are seemingly all drooling half-wits that revel in stereotypes.
The rest of the film takes place over a period of four days, as Georgia and her yeti-turned-love-interest driver Poupi (Alexis Georgoulis) haul around every cliché imaginable, from the kooky old man (Richard Dreyfuss) to the ignorant Americans (Rachel Dratch, Harland Williams) to the uptight Brits (Caroline Goodall, Ian Ogilvy).
Along the way, Georgia learns that rules are stupid and that all she needs to do to be happy is lighten up. This is all fine and well but the film seems to equate "lightening up" with being an obnoxious, dangerously incompetent idiot.
Everything here is paint-by-numbers. There is almost no effort to mask the fact that the entire film is a checklist of all things formulaic and insincere. In fact, if the film were called I Know You're Stupid So Give Me Your Money some might champion it as subversive, ironic genius. But no, it's neither of those things, rather it is mindless dreck at its most insulting, but at least a fat kid gives an old man, who has suffered a heart attack, a T-shirt that suggests he likes it in the pooper. Blue collar America should love it. (Fox)