Slapstick and Stereotypes Leave My Life in Ruins Flat
- Friday, June 05, 2009
As problematic as those clashing sensibilities are, the core problem of My Life in Ruins is that it's a chick flick in the most derogatory sense of the term. It's an overt feminine fantasy construct: good-hearted woman is "stuck" both professionally and personally, everything and everyone seems to be against her, until an unsuspecting nobody in her life transforms into the sensitive tall-dark-and-handsome beefcake who sweeps her off her feet and presto—she finds herself. But then how could she not when the guy just also happens to sit by the river in his spare time with a guitar and bottle of wine playing acoustic ballads?
For the amount of experience assembled both on camera and off (director Donald Petrie has directed successful comedies for two decades, screenwriter Mike Reiss penned The Simpsons Movie, and executive producer Tom Hanks has been, well, Tom Hanks), it's shocking how absolutely amateur this whole endeavor is: badly written, blandly directed, plainly shot and horribly acted. I wish it were enough for a film to have its heart in the right place, but it's not when that movie does everything wrong.
- Drugs/Alcohol: Alcohol is consumed, some people get drunk, but all is played for comedic effect.
- Language/Profanity: Occasional offensive language including uses of the "a" and "s" word, as well as vulgarisms for male genitalia.
- Sex/Nudity: A hotel clerk makes unwanted and crass sexual advances toward Georgia. Georgia often refers to how long she's been without sex. Characters encourage others that what they simply need is to have sex (and do so in more crass terms). Georgia attempts a sexually provocative dance (though played for laughs). A reference to ovulating. Bosomy divorcees wear low-cut tops and dresses. A conversation involving porn stars. Homosexual phrase "Enter At R---" is used. References to couples having sex, including a ménage à trois.
- Violence/Other: Only mild comedy slapstick.
Jeffrey Huston is a film director, writer and producer at Steelehouse Productions in Tulsa, Okla. He is also cohost of "Steelehouse Podcast," along with Steelehouse Executive Creative Mark Steele, where each week they discuss God in pop culture.
To listen to the weekly podcast, please visit www.steelehouse.com or click here. You can also subscribe to "Steelehouse Podcast" through iTunes.
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