New York's Tribeca Film Festival often serves as a fitting venue for international filmmakers and dramatic actors who wish to showcase and address sobering issues. But, aside from the standard and serious independent film niche, there are exceptions to the rule, with comedic stars such as the likes of Rachel Dratch in attendance this year.
The former Saturday Night Live player spent six seasons on that late night sketch show, where she frequently gained the spotlight for portraying rather eccentric and downright bizarre characters, perhaps most notably as the infamous Debbie Downer("Wah-Wah").
Now, Dratch has teamed up with hit filmmaker Donald Petrie ("How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days," "Mystic Pizza") for the new romantic comedy, "My Life In Ruins," starring Nia Vardalos of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" fame.
"Nia is very sort of chill about the whole [filmmaking process]. When you're on set with her, she always has to find the fun in it," Dratch told CBS News during the Festival.
The comedienne was in for a surprise throughout the shooting process in Spain and Greece, as Vardalos' fame abroad almost turned into a distraction while the cast and crew were filming on location.
"Nia is like a rock star over there. You walk down the streets of Greece and people just go nuts, it's like you're with Tom Cruise or something," Dratch said of her costar.
In the film, Vardalos' character, Georgia, serves as a travel guide attempting to find herself while providing tours throughout Greece. In her search for the perfect man and her "kefi" (Greek for "mojo," as Dratch best describes it), Georgia is accompanied by a rag-tag group of laughable travelers.
"I play the loud, obnoxious American stereotype of a tourist who is always wearing white sneakers and a money belt. 'Go USA!' That kind of thing," Dratch said. "The tourists in the movie are sort of there to be comic relief. We're in the background yuking it up. I don't know if my character is really all that deep."
Dratch is quite familiar with comic relief from her tenure on SNL, which she describes as a vital stepping-stone within her career. "SNL was a total dream job. I miss doing sketch and the whole excitement … but it's one of those things which you have to leave at some point. You can't make it a lifelong job," the actress said.
And, while thankful for her time spent on that hit TV show, Dratch now looks forward to future roles on the silver screen and to the recent release of "My Life In Ruins."
"This is my first movie to show at Tribeca. I love film festivals, so I'm always glad when something I did ends up in one," Dratch said.
Indeed, while she may play an irritating and predictable character onscreen, Dratch retains the opposite qualities off screen.
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures, "My Life In Ruins" was the closing film at this year's Tribeca Film Festival.
By Ken Lombardi