Aside from the beautiful scenery, and a few nice moments from Richard Dreyfuss (who’s really slumming it here), there’s very little to separate My Life in Ruins from any number of braindead romatic comedies. Here’s one of those films where a character notices the love of her life under her nose, finds meaning in her demeaning job, and everything ends happily ever after for everyone (except the audience). When the film isn’t throwing out contrived plot points like candy, and simply allows the actors to give some actual weight to their characters, there are slight glimmers at what this film could have been. Sadly, these moments are few and far between.
Nia Vardolas stars as Georgia, a disgruntled travel guide. She hates her job, she hates the people she works with, she hates her rundown tour bus, and she hates her tourists who are a collection of cliches you are much more likely to find in a movie like this than on an actual tour bus.
The group includes the funny old man (Dreyfuss) the stuck-up dysfunctional family (Caroline Goodall, Ian Ogilvy, Sophie Stuckey), the funny speaking Australians, the dumb Americans (Harland Williams, Rachel Dratch, Jareb Dauplaise), the slutty recent divorcees (María Botto, María Adánez), and the clueless businessman (who actually has the funniest line of the film, which I won’t spoil for you here).
Georgia is an awful tour guide, because they script calls for her to be, and the tourist themselves are the most disinterested group of world travelers I have ever seen. Added to the mix is the quiet bus driver (Alexis Geogoulis), who has a little thing for Georgia. Gee I wonder if the group will become inspired, Georgia will finally notice the bus driver and learn a lesson about sharing something of herself on the tours, and everything will turn-out all right in the end. What do you think? Kill me, kill me now.
The plot is further complicated by a rival travel guide (Alistair McGowan) who bribes the boss to get all the “good” tourists and wants to see Georgia fired. Of course that means he’d be stuck with all the tourists, both good and bad, so the logic behind his actions is somewhat perplexing (much like the rest of the plot).
While watching the film isn’t exactly painful, it’s hardly the light romp I’m sure writer Mark Reiss had in mind. What’s so sad is the bar for this genre has been set so low this film is actually slightly better than I was expecting.
There’s little chance this is the worst romantic comedy I will sit through this year, but that’s hardly a recommendation. Hidden deep, deep, deep down My Life in Ruins has a heart, but there’s little evidence of a brain.