Monday, October 19, 2009

MY LIFE IN RUINS

Nia Vardalos, Richard Dreyfuss, Alexi Georgoulis

"Falling in love ... in all the wrong places"


Cinema 4, Greenbelt 3



A much slimmer Nia Vardalos of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" fame is back with another amusing romantic comedy. The film is set in enchanting and beguiling Greece so the cinematography unfolds like a travelogue for Greece's tourism bureau.

Yet at the same time, it's an unflattering expose on Greek culture. It presents both the beauty as well as the 'flaws' of Greece and its citizens through a light narrative and funny sequences so it doesn't have an insulting tone.

A good supporting ensemble cast portray the stereotypes of the numerous tourists who visit the Greek isles, every year. Georgia (Nia Vardalos) is a tour guide so she gets to mingle with different nationalities of various personalities. So much so that she can already predict those tourists' habits and eccentricities based solely on their nationality. Special mention goes to the intriguing American tourist played with aplomb by the always reliable Richard Dreyfuss. His poignant character added some heart and soul to the movie. Otherwise the film would have turned into a parody of the ubiquitous tourists who visit Greece. Those who care more about shopping for souvenirs instead of listening to Georgia's spiel about the historical sights.

The characterization of the different types of tourists was an interesting highlight of "My Life in Ruins". In my many travels, I've certainly come across some let's say 'strange' characters/tourists whose questionable behaviors can ruin one's perfect holiday. Especially if you join a package group tour where you are herded from one tourist site to another like sheep. I could tell a few stories or two but that merits an entirely new blog entry.

Of course, a romantic comedy needs to have a love story angle so predictably Georgia (Nia Vardalos) finds inspiration from the last person she expected to hook up with. Frankly, I couldn't sense any sparkling chemistry between Poupi (Alexi Georgoulis) and Georgia (Nia Vardalos) no matter how hard I tried to focus on their budding relationship. I was probably put off by the rather rigid acting style of the brooding Greek actor.

Nevertheless, the movie was a delight to watch and it made me want to return to Greece once again to explore its vast historical sights and experience the fascinating Greek culture with gusto!

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