I've never been to Greece - always wanted to check it out - and after seeing My Life in Ruins, it basically reaffirmed my desire. Even though I wasn't feeling the hype behind My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Nia Vardalos was surprisingly good in this film (and not annoying). Along side Nia is a pretty interesting cast, and even though Richard Dreyfuss won't get much recognition for his role, his part really kept the film together. If you're looking for a good date flick, that won't have you cringe too much at excessive cheesiness, then My Life in Ruins is for you.
The story takes place in Greece, and although the majority of it was shot there, there were scenes produced in Spain as well. We follow what appears to be the last leg of Georgia's (Vardalos) stay in Greece. She originally went there with the intention of teaching, but after losing that position, she became a tour guide for Pangloss Tours. We could see she was slowing approaching her breaking point with this job, especially since she was a firm believer in showing tourists the beautiful, ancient aspects of Greece, while most of the yahoos on her tours were only interested in the touristy elements (shopping, the beaches, etc.).
Georgia's tourists perpetually get more annoyed with her persistence of showing them the beauties of Greece, via an intellectual pursuit. She keeps having interpersonal battles of staying genuine, and making the tour universally enjoyable. With the help of one of the tourists, Irv (Dreyfuss), and her handsome tour bus driver, Poupi (played by Alexis Georgoulis), she starts loosening up, and makes what was going to be her last tour, her best.
Most of the humor in the film is cute, and cuddly, with really no thought needed to follow the jokes. Definitely no belly laughs, and if you're under the age of 50 OR male, chances are the most you'll do is chuckle a few times. For instance, they try to make a joke out of the name of the character Georgoulis played: Poupi Kakas (poopy kaka, har har). That being said, it was still a pleasant film to watch, and I liked that even when the love story evolved, it didn't get mushy.
Near the end, there are a couple touching moments, that may sprout some tears out of the female audience. I thoroughly enjoyed most of the music - couldn't find if it was authentic Greek music, but it definitely sounded like it. One part that really confused me, but didn't take away from the moment, was that Harland Williams and Rachel Dratch were cast as the American tourists; believe me, they played the annoying American tourists to a tee, but they are both comedians by nature, and didn't add any humor to the story.
Good date movie, or something to take your parents to, and at a little over an hour and a half, it was the perfect length. Plus, if you don't have the money to actually visit Greece, this could serve as a decent substitute.