Review: 'My Life in Ruins'

( PG-13 ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

This romantic comedy stars Nia Vardalos as a Greek-American waylaid in Athens as a tour guide, who falls for the bus driver.

Teresa Isasi/Fox Searchlight/AP
Nia Vardalos, left, and Alexis Georgoulis are shown in a scene from, "My Life in Ruins."

Do you think it might be possible just once to set a movie in Greece and not summon up a dancing Anthony Quinn in "Zorba the Greek"? Well, OK, "Mamma Mia" did it, but that was already a musical. "My Life in Ruins," the latest example of a travelogue fobbing itself off as a movie, actually works a few clips from "Zorba" into the mix – just in case, I suppose, we felt like seeing a good movie set in Greece.

Nia Vardalos, the star and writer of that big fat hit "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," plays a Greek-American history professor who finds herself waylaid in Athens as a tour guide. She finds love in the person of the handsome tour bus driver (Alexis Georgoulis), whose nickname is "Poupi." Needless to say, that name comes in for a lot of ribbing. It's that kind of movie.

Vardalos didn't write "My Life in Ruins," which has been sitting on the shelf for a while, but it has some of the same sappiness as her smash success – probably not enough, though, to connect with her fans. As a laughing-through-tears jokester tourist, Richard Dreyfuss provides the only moments of real acting, as opposed to overacting, mugging, and scenery chomping. Grade: C- (Rated PG-13 for sexual content.)

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