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Gavin Grades The Movies



Julie & Julia

I'm a little behind in seeing this, but I was given the heads-up that it makes you very hungry.  I was pressed for time so I had to eat dinner that night at Applebee's before seeing the film.  Within the first couple shots of the movie you automatically feel like whatever you just ate is inadequate and lacked in flavor by a landslide to what's being made on the screen...in my case it was made even worse by my dinner choice.  "Julie & Julia" is based on two books, two true stories and mushed together because it probably looked great on paper to do that.  In my opinion, it wasn't.  I actually would've been very interested in a movie that was just about Julia Child (Meryl Streep).  I consider myself a "foodie" but besides that she led a very interesting life, was a pioneer and an inspiration for women who want to bust through glass ceiling.  The story of Julie Powell (Amy Adams) is not interesting at all.  She's a woman who was lost in her own life so she started a blog where she wrote about trying to cook all 500+ receipts from Julia Child's famous "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" book in a year.  According to her, Julia Child and this project saved her life, her marriage and her sanity.  Unfortunately you don't see any of that in the film.  It's never fully explained how doing this made her see her life and marriage in a totally new light.  Although I love Adams as an actress, she shows us one side of the character and never gives it an arch at all.  To me it seemed that the Producers wanted to do a movie on Julia Child and thought no one would see it unless it had something else to it.  That might be true for most, but adding the Julie Powell story just made it longer.  Not to say that it's boring or painful to watch.  It's not!  It's cute and light and silly.  But the movie becomes interesting again when it's back to 1950s France with Julia and her husband Paul.  Now Paul is played by the awesome, Stanley Tucci.  It's interesting to see the trailers beforehand full of the forthcoming romantic-comedies that star your usual Sandra Bullocks, Sarah Jessica Parkers, and Matthew McConaugheys because none of those actors share chemistry the way that Streep and Tucci do in this.  There are scenes in the movie between them that director Nora Ephron capture in one continuous shot because they glide through dialogue in a way that's so natural that you honestly believe these people are in love...of course it helps when you were a couple that was as devoted as The Childs were to each other.  This movie has many good parts and is enjoyable to see.  Streep has earned another Oscar nomination as far as I'm concerned and so far is the leading contender.  But it feels like a meal prepared by Julie Powell and not Julia Child...not nearly as good as it should or could be, but still pretty damn tasty. Julie & Julia (Rated PG-13) Gavin Grade: B

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08/22/2009 3:43AM
Julie & Julia
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