My Life in Ruins Donald Petrie

My Life in Ruins Donald Petrie
Sometimes I wonder if certain people in show business simply lack the motor skills to check the Internet Movie Database. When producers Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson and Gary Goetzman chose Donald Petrie to direct their second film with star Nia Vardolas (following a certain Greek-themed family comedy you might have accidentally seen in 2002), did they even bother looking at his filmography? His three previous movies: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Welcome to Mooseport, and Just My Luck. Prior credits: The Associate, My Favorite Martian, Opportunity Knocks and Richie goddamn Rich. How badly does it speak of a filmmaker when his best movie is Grumpy Old Men? Though the 30 minutes I saw of My Favorite Martian on TBS were pretty evil, I'll go out on a limb and say that My Life in Ruins is the master's worst movie yet; it's a teeth-gnashingly dull slog through familiar territory. The plot: Georgia (Nia Vardalos) is the least popular tour guide in Greece, until one day… oh, you already know. There's the usual assortment of outrageous cultural stereotypes: snooty Brits, indecipherable Australians, polite Canadians and ignorant Americans ("This is better than a haircut at Curves!" says one of the Americans, in the worst one-liner in recorded history). Calling the script "sitcom material" would be unfair to the genre that brought us Homeboys from Outer Space, and Petrie's direction is static and lazy, underlining every lame joke with overzealous, bouncy music before bringing in the heavy strings for unearned sentimental passages. Vardalos still has flashes of charm but she has no chemistry with he ridiculously one-note Harlequin love interest (Alexis Georgoulis), and only Richard Dreyfuss can make any portion of the film even remotely bearable. DVD extras include a whopping three audio commentaries, including a master class with Mister Donald Petrie, who actually spends some time on heavy-duty analysis. Regarding Georgia's relationship with the tourists: "She sees them as stereotypes; she doesn't really see them as people" (I bet he identifies.) On his craft: "I'm big on set-up and pay-off!" ― an heir to Orson Welles? On his editing: "Well, this is what you can do in the editing room when you've got way too much time on your hands." Oh, Donald, stop before you give away all your secrets. (Fox)