A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.
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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?
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
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