*If there ever were the cinematic equivalent of a one-hit wonder, it’s Nia Vardalos.

In 2002, she won the world’s heart when she co-starred in the charming screen adaptation of her play, My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

But judging by the junk she’s served up since then, you have to wonder how so much potential could have possibly vanished into thin air.

First, she wrote, produced and starred in the TV version of Big Fat which was so unwatchable it was canceled after only seven episodes. Then, she took credit for writing and co-starred in a thinly-veiled remake of Some Like It Hot called Connie and Carla which failed to measure up to the Marilyn Monroe classic.

After five years of ostensibly self-imposed exile, Nia has returned to make a couple of poorly-received romantic comedies, My Life in Ruins and I Hate Valentine’s Day, dreadful disasters likely to alienate what’s left of her disillusioned fan base. The latter marks not only Ms. Vardalos’ directorial debut but her screen reunion with John   Corbett, who was her love interest in Big Fat. But don’t expect to see them regenerate any of that magic up, even though he’s again playing the object of her affection.  

Set in NYC, the plot unfolds promisingly enough. Genevieve Gernier (Vardalos) is the owner of Roses for Romance, a flower shop located in lower Manhattan. At the point of departure, Greg Gatlin (Corbett), a bachelor from Georgia, is in the process of renovating a restaurant on the same block.

Sparks fly, yet Genevieve is reluctant to date the dapper Southern gentleman, because she thinks romance is overrated, the name of her store notwithstanding. But egged on by a gay Greek chorus comprised of her two equally-effeminate employees, she decides to give it a go.

The plentiful problems with I Hate Valentine’s Day rest not only in the leads’ lackluster liaison but in the insulting stereotypes served up as support characters. From Genevieve’s annoyingly-flamboyant assistants to a sassy sister who tells Greg to “Make that booty call!” to a deferential Asian woman who meekly puts up with being treated like a piece of meat by Greg’s best friend, you wonder how the same woman responsible for Greek Wedding could have written such a cringe-inducing mess.

My big fat Greek flop.

Poor (½ star)
Rated PG-13 for sexuality.  
Running time: 89 minutes
Studio: MPI Home Video

DVD Extras: audio commentary by the director, the producers and star Nia Vardalos, and a theatrical trailer.

To order a copy of I Hate Valentine’s Day, visit: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002U1LGTQ?ie=UTF8&tag=thslfofire-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B002U1LGTQ

To see a trailer for I Hate Valentine’s Day, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYrlYGe_YT4