x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

My Life in Ruins

This follow-up to My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding is not as refreshing but is still worth a good laugh

It's a rare and peculiar chemistry that occurs in a film when, despite every rule of good taste being shattered and every bone in your body screaming "nooo", two and two inexplicably make five, and it works. The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Mamma Mia and perhaps even Nia Vardalos's breakthrough My Big Fat Greek Wedding fall into this "so wrong it's right" category. My Life in Ruins, starring a noticeably slimmed down Vardalos, can now join them. Georgia (Vardalos) is an uptight tour guide forced to take a group of philistine tourists on a trip round the classical piles of her native country. Apparently, she has lost her kefi (Greek for mojo), and it's going to take this motley crew, plus a certain hunky bus driver (Georgoulis), to help her find it. The jokes are terrible (the driver is called Poupi Kakas, for goodness sake); the characters are clichéd (think brash Americans in search of Hard Rock Café, and stuck up Brits with a sulky teenage daughter); and you know exactly what's going to happen from moment one. But somehow it's all rather charming. Vardalos is just about vulnerable enough to like. And in the dreadful tour group lurks the odd gem, such as a pair of unintelligible Aussies and Nico, the competitive co-tour guide (played by Alistair McGowan) determined to undermine Georgia's attempts at enlightenment by skipping straight to ice creams and souvenirs. Sweet and sentimental, this is a strictly cynicfree zone.