My Life in Ruins Is Nia Vardalos' Strangely Self-Loathing Anti-Comeback
Substitute "career" for "life" in the title of this stillborn travelogue comedy, and you'll have a succinct verdict on My Big Fat Greek Wedding writer/star Nia Vardalos, whose efforts to prove herself more than a one-megahit wonder have been greeted by audiences with an apathy previously reserved for the post–Crocodile Dundee oeuvre of Paul Hogan (see the short-lived 2003 sitcom My Big Fat Greek Life and the even shorter-lived 2004 drag-queen farce Connie and Carla). Here, in the opening salvo of her double-barreled 2009 comeback bid—the Vardalos-scripted and -directed I Hate Valentine's Day is set to follow in July—the Greek-Canadian comedienne once more tries to parlay her Hellenic pride into box-office gold, starring as an unemployed history professor reduced to working as an Athenian tour guide. The result, written by The Simpsons alum Mike Reiss and directed (in a manner of speaking) by Grumpy Old Men's Donald Petrie, is a strangely self-loathing affair that paints Vardalos's tour group as a uniformly ill-mannered, culturally illiterate bunch, while rendering Greece itself as a badly plumbed third-world hellhole run by lazy, Zorba-dancing louts. The requisite ugly Americans are here, as well as the beer-guzzling Aussies and one wizened, Viagra-popping widower (Richard Dreyfuss, really slumming it). But then, what did you expect from a movie with characters named Poupi and Doudi Kakas?
Get the Film Club Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.
More Film News
- Alex Gibney: Steve Jobs Had the 'Focus of a Monk — Without the Empathy'
- Netflix’s 'Narcos' Tries to Be 'The Wire' for Colombia’s Drug War
- ‘The Second Mother’ Offers a Sharp Brazilian Take on the Upstairs/Downstairs Drama
- The Predictability of Teary Kids Doc 'My Voice, My Life' Doesn't Make It Any Less Powerful