My Life in Ruins (2009) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Comedy / Romance
Fox || PG13 - 95 minutes - $39.99 || October 6, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-10-26


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Donald Petrie
Writer(s): Mike Reiss (written by)
Cast: Nia Vardalos, Richard Dreyfuss, Alexis Georgoulis, Harland Williams


Theatrical Release Date: June 5, 2009


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 3 Feature Commentaries
  • Deleted/Alternate Scenes
  • Outtakes


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Nia Vardalos returns to her Greek routes since the 2002 indie mega-hit, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, taking in over $350 million worldwide on a $5 million budget (it had been turned into a failed TV series). And while Greek Wedding had its charm (I haven’t seen it in many years) the same can’t be said for her latest, My Life in Ruins, an OK little romantic comedy that never really hits its stride.

Georgia (NIA VARDALOS) is an academic who had moved to Athens for a great job talking about the historic elements of Greece... until her position was eliminated and now she is questioning her life after taking a job as a tour guide. Unfortunately, she is the lowest rated guide consistently receiving “average” scores on her evaluations, the lowest score on the form. We quickly discover why as much information as she knows about Greek history, she doesn’t exactly make it interesting.

Georgia also gets the, well, interesting clientele while her smarmy adversary gets the rest. Of course, since this is a movie we get the typical array of characters (which Georgia explains so well to us anyway). In part, these include: two obnoxious Americans (HARLAND WILLIAMS, RACHEL DRATCH), a kleptomaniac granny, a couple and their bored daughter, and a spry/comedic old guy named Irv (RICHARD DREYFUS) who just may offer Georgia some timely advice to change the course of her life...

I think Nia Vardalos is a funny actress and while MBFGW certainly had its charm thanks to a fun cast and decent script, this time lightening did not strike twice. The very first scene has Nia’s voiceover talking about what’s so great about Greece and everything (if you saw the trailer, you know the scene) before she abruptly stops as she’s late to work. Well, I suppose this scene, the opening no less, was supposed to be funny but instead you could literally hear crickets, yes crickets, in my own home theater room.

However, I did manage to chuckle a few times throughout, it was mainly thanks to veteran actor Richard Dreyfus who doesn’t really do anything outlandish with a stereotypical role, but his presence alone makes up for the script’s shortfalls.

My Life in Ruins was directed by Donald Petrie known for rom-coms of this nature (previously helming How to Lose a Guy in 13 Days and the Lindsay Lohan stinker Just My Luck), but he also directed the oft forgotten 1993 classic, Grumpy Old Men. The movie was written by Mike Reiss of “The Simpsons” fame (plus several other comedy projects over the years).

Overall, Ruins isn’t a bad comedy by any means, just fairly ordinary. You have one bright spot with Dreyfus and one blemish being a script that wasn’t entirely funny and a main character one could care less about, in spite of Vardalos’ charm. This is easily one romantic-comedy than you can skip.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

The Blu-ray comes with not one, not two, but three Feature Commentary tracks! Why? I haven’t a clue. The first is with Actress Nia Vardalos, second with Director Donald Petrie and the third with Writer Mike Reiss. Ok, so to be perfectly honest, I didn’t have the time or stomach to listen to each one all the way through, HOWEVER, I can say something about each: Nia Vardalos might be a nice lady, but she makes for a boring commentator with too many silent gaps; Petrie is a little better as he tries to fill every minute providing some insights into the production; and Reiss is just as lively beginning with a short resume followed by his inspiration for the story. Reiss’ track is pretty funny though he does end it about 20-minutes before the end.

Deleted/Alternate Scenes (12:38) – There are a few innocuous scenes (and one improv) with an optional commentary with Director Petrie. Trust me, you’re not missing much... There is an alternate ending in which our good friend Irv, dies.

Everybody Loves Poupi (3:30) is a series of outtakes featuring, well, Poupi.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

My Life in Ruins is presented with a 1.85 aspect ratio and in 1080p high-definition. The video transfer looks nice with decent detail levels and the colors are well balanced, but that’s the extent of it. There’s no real “wow” factor here but it’s perfectly suitable for a genre movie of this caliber.

On the same note, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track isn’t anything you’re going to get excited over but it gets the job done. Outside of maybe a scene or two – as well as David Newman’s ho-hum score – this is dialogue heavy which sound quite clear.



.::OVERALL::.

My Life in Ruins is a harmless romantic-comedy with a few funny moments thanks to Richard Dreyfuss. The Blu-ray has a good video transfer and the audio is decent enough; however, the features are limited.