Most romantic comedies, if not all, follow the same clich’eacute; structure: predictable story line, love life challenged, soul searching main character, cheesy script and humor, with a happy ending one can see coming miles away. However, these typical elements are surprisingly what make romantic comedies so enjoyable and successful; clich’eacute; is what defines this genre, but it is also what helps romantic comedies garner such a steady following.
My Life in Ruins is this summer’s romantic comedy fix. Nia Vardalos, famous for her role in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, stars as Georgia, a woman living in her native country of Greece who works as a tour guide while she waits to score her dream job as a professor at a major university back in the U.S. She lacks ‘kefi,’ what the Greeks refer to as mojo or passion, a characteristic common to the lifestyle of the country’s natives.
This makes her life and job in Greece more frustrating than pleasurable. In her latest touring assignment, Georgia finds herself working with what she considers to be the worst group of tourists possible. She then fails miserably in her job as a tour guide, unable to capture the interest of the group she leads with her history-lecture approach to tourism. To make matters worse, she gets stuck with an unkempt mess of a driver, a man who prefers to go by the nickname Poupi (Alexis Georgoulis).
It is with this group that she finally gains her zest and kefi for life, particularly with the help, guidance and lively wisdom of the charismatic tourist Irv (Richard Dreyfuss).
The characters are all convincing, despite some of them being a bit over exaggerated. Harland Williams and Rachel Dratch were successful in playing the rude American couple of the group, though their lines and overly dramatic antics made their behavior seem a bit unrealistic.
Georgia’s character works well as someone who is easy to relate to, yet she possesses flaws and problems that are straightforward and easy to fix, making her character seem not as complex as she should be.
Ironically, the most in-depth characters were Irv and Poupi, the two chracters in the film who help Georgia understand that enjoying life is not that difficult of a task.
The humor of the movie is average at best. Ruins manages to conjure up chuckles here and there, but a few scenes will make one laugh out loud. Despite this, the film still retains a balance between its comedy and romance aspect. Holding back on so much humor allows the romance and soul searching to take the main spotlight in this movie. However, it is the wisdom of this film and not the comedy from which the audience derives a sense of happiness.
My Life in Ruins is a lesson aiming to teach the audience the concept and importance of ‘kefi’ and how to loosen up and take pleasure in the moment. The film clearly gets this message across by taking great advantage of its setting in Greece; it entices the audience by showcasing the country’s amazing landscapes, coastlines and famous ancient architecture. It wouldn’t be a surprise if there happens to be an increase in the number of trips to Greece this summer.
Overall, My Life in Ruins does its job at being a romantic comedy that most people will feel good about and enjoy watching. It is not a breakthrough masterpiece, and it would be ridiculous if one goes in to watch this movie expecting something of the sort.
Ruins is simply a pleasant sight that goes well with the bright weather of the summer. It wouldn’t be a waste of money to go see this film in theaters, but it also wouldn’t hurt to wait for its release on DVD.
My Life in Ruins opens nationwide June 5.
Verdict: This feel-good romantic comedy is not ruined by waiting for its DVD release.