Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Video review: "My Life in Ruins"

If "My Life in Ruins" looks thematically similar to Nia Vardalos' breakout hit "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," that's because it is.

Once again the order of the day is corny but heartfelt humor, unlikely romance and learning to appreciate the little things in life.

Vardalos, looking utterly gorgeous, plays Georgia, an American scholar who moved to Greece to study the ancient ruins, but lost her job and is now consigned to giving tours for a crappy tourist company.

She always gets stuck with the lousy group, the broke-down bus and the surly driver. But things change with the help of a kooky tour group consisting of a crotchety old jokester (Richard Dreyfuss), a kleptomaniac grandmother, some horny Spanish divorcees and a doofus Florida Gator, amongst others.

It doesn't hurt that her driver, Poupi (Alexis Georgoulis), grows less hairy and more dreamy as the movie goes on.

The movie doesn't have a lot of brains -- for instance, we never learn what it was that made Georgia decamp from the States -- but it does have plenty of heart.

Extras are the same for both DVD and Blu-ray: Eight deleted/alternate scenes with director's commentary, a gag reel, and three separate commentary tracks by Vardalos, director Donald Petrie and screenwriter Mike Reiss.

Commentaries are nearly always better when two or more people team up to do them, so why the threesome didn't join forces rather than each doing their own thing is puzzling. Especially since Vardalos' track contains many long pauses.

Still, she is just naturally funny, as in this comment about an onscreen joke about Greek women having mustaches: "Now, that's a silly joke, because as a Greek girl I don't have a mustache ... because I had laser done."

Movie: 2.5 stars
Extras: 3 stars

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