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From Nia Vardalos, writer and star of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” comes the uplifting comedy “My Life in Ruins.” Georgia (Nia Vardalos) has lost her kefi (Greek for “mojo”). Discouraged by her lack of direction in life, she works as a travel guide, leading a rag-tag group of tourists as she tries to show them the beauty of her native Greece while waiting to land her dream job. Opening their eyes to an exotic foreign land, she too begins to see things in new ways—finding her kefi and possibly love in the process.
The world was first introduced to Nia Vardalos in 2002 with her surprise hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which she wrote and starred in. Vardalos’s infectious charm and love for her characters permeated throughout the film, making it one of the most endearing romantic comedies in recent memory. The film seemed like the perfect career vehicle to establish Vardalos as a mainstream Hollywood actress. Since then, instead of capitalizing on her newfound fame, she keeps going back to her calling card, the misunderstood Greek American. First, she unsuccessfully tried to turn My Big Fat Greek Wedding into a television show, My Big Fat Greek Life, and now has made My Life In Ruins, which is being marketed as “the My Big Fat Greek Wedding girl goes back to Greece.” I am starting to feel this girl is like one of those one hit wonder bands who keep remaking and remixing their only hit over and over again, how many different versions of the Macarena are really necessary? The same applies here.
My Life In Ruins is a contrived attempt at recapturing the success of My Big Fat Greek Wedding and is met with some pretty inept results. Nia Vardalos’s character, Georgia, is a Greek American tour guide in Greece who is frustrated by the quality of her tourists. The film tries to find comedy in her tour group, but misses much more often than it hits. The story tries to incorporate every type of annoying tourist into one bus and the results are just as irritating as they would be in real life. The problem is the film doesn’t have the same affection for these characters’ quirks in the way My Big Fat Greek Wedding does. The organic connection, which brings that film together is completely missing in this jumbled second attempt. The same goes for the love story that develops between Vardalos’s tour guide character and her bus driver Poupi (yes his name is a poop joke) who can’t seem to find a spark. After such a great debut effort, this film falls to the wayside among the countless other romantic comedies without anything truly original to offer.