Eat Pray Love

Puke Gag Puke

         
 

13 August 2010| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

Cheap and shallow philosophy, painfully long without measure, and atrociously photographed. Eat Pray Love is a woman on a self-discovery journey with Julia Roberts less than enchanting. I have to admit I kinda am in love with Julia, but only conditionally, preferring her when she plays a hooker with a heart of gold, a klutzy but adorable bridesmaid waiting for her turn, or a feisty crusader in a push-up bra. This is one of those Julia movies though where she’s whiny, endlessly dissatisfied, and embittered over men who aren’t bad but simply don’t get her and her uniqueness. As Liz Gilbert (the author of her semi-autobiographical book), she takes off to delve into eat (Italy), pray (India), and love (Bali). Even though Liz talks to spiritually devout wise men in India, it never seemed to me that she is anything but a selfish person with an all-about-me attitude.

Before her exodus from grey skies New York, she dumps her respectable and responsible husband (Billy Crudup) when she decides a house and the married life are conduits of suffocation. Then she meets a carefree young actor (James Franco, simply terrible) who endures whiny Liz with tireless ears. Then what feels like an eternity later, she embarks to grey skies Italy on book advance money. Despite her sour grapes personality, she makes a quick best girlfriend (a Swedish tourist) and is accompanied by oodles of Italian men with tireless ears who must find Liz oh-so-fascinating with her bad marriage stories and projections that she’s not in the mood for sex or romance. What patient Italian guys!

For the rest of her journeys, other vacationers and sabbaticals flock to Liz and her negativity because she is oh-so-fascinating to them. The big, would-be profound scene of India is supposed to be when a Texan traveler (Richard Jenkins) entrusts her with the recent tragedy of his past – all I could think about is why the hell would this spiritually enlightened Texan spill his tears for Liz?!?! And not somebody else worthy of his company?

Then you got hunky divorcee Felipe (Javier Bardem), long celibate, who nearly runs Liz over with his vehicle in Bali (mishaps, mishaps, both sides guilty) only to romantically pursue her even though he’s about as appealing as an aardvark to her at initial impression. They love. Then soon after Liz refuses to follow Felipe on his adventures – she’s Miss Independent – but Felipe, making the same mistake less attractive guys have made long before him, comes back groveling for forgiveness and acceptance. This is the alternative to admitting that Liz is the wrong sour grapes woman and that pursuing her was a mistake.

You, among the rare ones, find this movie empowering and spiritually aware? Then you need to take a deeper exploration of the meaning of spirituality. You need to stop seeing superficial self-discovery movies with Julia Roberts. I suggest that you see “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring” (2003) and discover that the path to enlightenment and self-actualization does not entail me-first self-absorption. “Spring” is also better looking. It’s not photographed in desaturated, blackened and burnt auburn colors that are depressing to look at. “Eat Pray Love” is that rare cinematic abomination that makes the wonders and natural habitats of the world  appear glum and dismal.

141 Minutes. Rated PG-13.

DRAMA / SELF-REFLECTION / SPRING AWAKENING

Film Cousins: “Funny Face” (1957); “Orlando” (1993); “Nurse Betty” (2000); “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring” (2003, South Korea).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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