On a whim I stopped into Smith’s on the way home from a party on Saturday night. I was still kind of keyed up and thought a movie from Redbox might help calm me down enough to get to sleep.
I hit the jackpot – many of the movies I wanted to see were actually available for rental. Of course, that made my choice a little harder. What to choose…what to choose…? I decided on Eat, Pray, Love. Let me first say this: I am not a huge Julia Roberts fan, nor did I read the book. In fact, I had no desire to read the book. At all. Memoirs aren’t really my thing, but I thought perhaps in movie form the story might be compelling.
I was wrong.
I know it’s supposed to be the cool thing these days to be on the Eat, Pray, Love bandwagon. It’s all the rage. All the cool girls read the book AND saw the movie. They laughed. They cried. They grew. I so wanted to experience some of this… whatever it is. This wave that’s going through women’s groups all around me. I wanted to be able to talk about the subject with some sort of knowledge. And, believe it or not, I wanted to like the movie.
And I did not.
I am sure after reading what I am about to say, I’ll get a bunch of comments like, “You really have to read the book to get the full effect.” Let me say right here and now, no. I am not going to read the book. While I realize that movies don’t always capture the essence of a book, I saw enough to know that this woman’s “insights” were not anything I really want to read about.
For those of you not familiar (and that would probably mostly be the men on my friends list), a woman in her mid-to-late 30’s basically has a mid-life crisis. She tells her husband she doesn’t want to be married any longer, and is surprised when he is bitter during the divorce proceedings. She meets a guy, and decides he still isn’t what she’s looking for, so she packs up and goes on a trip to find herself.
First stop: Italy. This is where the “eat” part comes in. She supposedly eats her way through Italy, discovering the joy of food. Personally, I didn’t see it. I understand that the author gained weight. Julia Roberts? Nope. Stick thin. I thought I read somewhere that she gained weight for the role, but if she did, I certainly didn’t see it. Face it: Julia Roberts has *that * kind of body – she will look thin until the day she is almost 400 pounds. That’s just the facts, and she can’t fat it up for a role, no matter how much she insists she did. So did I buy it at all when her character had to shop for “fat pants”? Nope. And even when there is a shot of her lying on the floor in the dressing room trying to zip up a pair of pants, I didn’t buy it – especially since the point of the pant buying exercise was to buy a pair that would make eating more comfortable. If you have to lie on the floor to zip up a pair of pants, you will NOT be able to eat in them comfortably.
The Italy portion of the movie was probably the least irritating – and that’s not saying much. Julia Roberts’ character becomes perturbed every time an older Italian woman suggests she needs a man. And… I get it… but it becomes the running “gag” of the movie. For in each place she visits, there is some older woman insisting her life would be better if she had a man. I guess the viewer is supposed to sympathize with her, and high five her mentally when she spouts her feminist reasons as to why she doesn’t need a man. Instead, I found those moments annoying.
After Italy, she decides to waddle to India for the Pray portion. Here she lands in some sort of ashram or something – some place where basically all people do is meditate. She meets some cranky Texan who calls her “Groceries,” because of her appetite. Still… she doesn’t look fat to me. Not even chubby. Of course, Mr. Obnoxious Texan gets under her skin, and even the viewer begins to dislike him – until we get to the requisite “let’s squeeze some tears out of these women” scene. Turns out, he almost ran over his child in a drunken stupor, so he’s been meditating and working on himself. I was so touched I cried.
I lied. I knew a scene like this was coming – the whole set-up could be seen a mile away. I just really wanted it to hurry up and end so we could get to the Love part.
There was a side story of an Indian girl who was entering into a family-fixed marriage. And the Julia Roberts character was supposed to be all wise and sisterly and stuff, and I think we were to believe that because of JR, this girl was happier going into the marriage, but I dunno – that wasn’t quite pulled off, either. I mean, seriously – these little stories are just so cliché. If this woman REALLY lived this stuff, she knows how to make her life one big giant cliché after another.
We finally get to the Love part, and of course the “meet cute.” This guy runs Julia Roberts’ character off the road. She hates him, and then meets him and eventually falls for him. Because of COURSE he is sexy and sweet and everyone’s idea of the perfect man – well, almost perfect. Let’s remember he doesn’t drive well.
The love story falls flat, because while I can see why this guy is the bee’s knees, I don’t quite get what he sees in her. She whines. She pushes back. Oh WAIT. I get it now. All men like the bitch! That’s why. Okay. I should try that in real life.
So besides the fact that each portion of Eat, Pray, Love has been done to death before (and I know, this is supposed to be REAL LIFE exclamation mark), the other thing I found irritating was that she had the time and money to go “find herself.” In this economy, that luxury of self-indulgence just fell flat.
“Look at my life! It’s a disaster. I think I’ll take a year off and find myself. I’ll gorge myself in Italy. I’ll pray in India. And then I’ll fall in love in Bali! I’ll pull my hair back into a ponytail, so it looks like I’m slumming it. But really, I could go to the local salon and look like a runway model if I wanted to!”
For $1.08, it was probably worth seeing – but I sure feel sorry for you suckers who paid ten times more to see it in the theater.