My Life in Ruins

 
Pleasant but overly predictable travel comedy OK for teens.
  • Review Date: June 4, 2009
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 98 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Although Georgia is an intelligent, educated woman, she's depicted as passionless and uptight until she's swept off her feet by an attractive, mysterious man. The movie's message seems to be that a woman isn't happy or successful unless she's "got a man." On the other hand, the tourists all help each other in one way or another. One kleptomaniac elderly lady stops stealing by the end of the tour, and the obnoxious American couple starts to be more sensitive to Greek culture, etc.

Violence

When a tourist is told that his Greek T-shirt announces he's gay (in a crass way), he attacks the tour guide who gave it to him, pushing him into a pool and yelling at him.

Sex

Several references to Georgia's inactive sex life; a few bawdy jokes about the easily available Spanish divorcees on the tour. Several characters flirt and kiss, and one couple ends up going to bed together (they're shown, torsos covered, on the floor). It's implied that another character has a menage a trois, because his hotel door opens and he's in boxers and a robe and then two women in lingerie are visible behind him.

Language

Relatively mild for a PG-13 film: "ass/es," "idiot," "oh my God," "hell," "damn," "suckers," "stupid," and the words "his stick" misheard as "his d--k." A character's nickname is Poupi, and his last name is Kakas ("Poupi Kakas"; his nephew is "Doudi Kakas").

Consumerism

One of the characters is an exec at IHOP (International House of Pancakes), and he mentions IHOP constantly, gives everyone his business cards, and compares people and places to menu items. It's a running joke throughout the film. Another tour guide discusses taking his group to the Hard Rock Cafe.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults frequently drink beer, cocktails, and Ouzo on their Greek vacation. In one scene, everyone's at a bar, and a few characters get drunk. One tourist pulls out a cigar but is told he can't smoke it.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this romcom probably isn't on most kids' radar, with the exception of teen girls who love romantic films. Sexuality includes discussions about the main character's sex life, some kissing, and a brief post-coital shot of a sheet-covered couple lying in each other's arms. There's less strong language than in most PG-13 films, with "ass" being the main offender. Violence is limited to a pool-side scuffle, and consumerism is tied to one character's job at IHOP, which is a running gag in the movie.

What's the story?

Greek-American Georgia (Nia Vardalos) arrived in her mother country to teach at a university, but she winds up an uninspired tour guide for ungrateful travelers who are more interested in souvenirs than cultural understanding. On what she's decided will be her final tour before heading home to the States, she has a stereotypic group that includes obnoxious Americans (Rachel Dratch, Harland Williams), divorcees on the prowl, an unhappy couple and their perpetually scowling teenager, and a goofball widower who loves to tell jokes (Richard Dreyfuss). Driving them all is the mysterious, heartthrob-in-disguise driver Poupi (yes, pronounced like "Poopie"), played by Greek actor Alexis Georgoulis. Although it starts off disastrously, the tour predictably changes Georgia's outlook on life, love, and Greece.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This romantic comedy covers incredibly familiar territory. Most mature viewers will recognize it as just another spin on How Stella Got Her Groove Back: An "uptight" woman is too closed off to realize her own beauty until a gorgeous, international man shows her the way. In addition to the "love, international style" formula, there's also the theme of wacky strangers on vacation together. Vardalos is sweet, sunny, and charming, but there's not much for her to do but pout about her current circumstances and make moon faces at Poupi.

The script is the picture of predictability, and the only viewer who could doubt that Georgia and Poupi will have a mind-blowing affair is one who's never seen a romantic comedy. But if you're in the mood for an evening of amusing fluff, familiar humor, and an uncomplicated romance, MY LIFE IN RUINS will do.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what the movie seems to say about success versus happiness.

  • Does Georgia's decision at the end of the movie make sense, or is it

  • counter to her personality?

  • Why do so many romantic comedies portray

  • the female protagonist as "uptight"? Is that sexist?

  • Kids: Is Georgia a

  • good role model for young women?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 5, 2009
DVD release date:October 6, 2009
Cast:Nia Vardalos, Rachel Dratch, Richard Dreyfuss
Director:Donald Petrie
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Genre:Comedy
Run time:98 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:sexual content

This review of My Life in Ruins was written by

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byAlinaW. September 2, 2010
age 12+
 

Nia Vardalos does it again! A great rom-com with Greek flair!

This was a GREAT movie! There was all the makings of a fab rom-com . . . Gorgeous scenery, funny little wise cracks (Ahem, bus driver named Poopy Kakas) and great, easy to relate to characters! Nia Vardalos is one of my favourite actresses, and she didn't dissapoint me with her latest rom-com with a Greek flair . . . Heck, it was almost as good as the iconic "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"! I think it's a great movie to watch as a family, especially if you have older kids, or to watch with a "Girls Night In" . . . There is one non-explecite scene after Poopy and Georgia have sex, but nothing is shown, and little is talked about . . . Basically, messages of true love having no bounds prevail, and it's a great feel-good film. I'd highly recommend it!
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 14 years old Written byLen Aubrey July 31, 2010
age 13+
 

Have a laugh!

I love it! The scenery is beautiful. It's down right hilarious and it isn't as explicit as some say for the innocence of their children. A very good movie to watch, one of my favourites so far.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byEmilyB123 July 27, 2010
age 11+
 
I thought this movie was... OK. There is a non explicit scene after two characters have sex, and some mild language, but tweens should be allowed to see it.

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