'My Life in Ruins'


At least "My Life in Ruins" boasts a fairly clever title, considering its subject of a Greek-born American tour guide struggling in a job from hell as her loveless, aimless life grows grimmer. Nia Vardalos, whose breakthrough came with the smash indie stunner "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," again carries the lead role, but this vehicle feels far more manufactured and forced.

Vardalos is Georgia, an Athens-based guide who conducts tours of the country for largely unpleasant tourists and battles competition on the beat with Nico (Alistair McGowan), an obnoxiously overconfident Greek guide. As her busload glides from one magnificent ruin to another with stopovers at dreary hotels, Georgia slowly warms up to handsome bus driver Poupi (Alexis Georgoulis). As she gets her mojo (kefi in Greek) back — that amorphous combination of zest for life and embrace of the passionate side — even her tourist crew grows more endearing.

Kilometers away in quality from such similarly themed, female-skewing films as the classic "Summertime," the quickie fun tour of "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium" or recent delight "Under the Tuscan Sun," "Ruins" is sometimes as sunny as its locations but as familiar and predictable as a Greek diner. (partialdiff)