Eat Pray Love: Roberts’ Triumph or Indulgent Poor Me-Hicle?

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Let it be said for the record that I love Julia Roberts. The big toothy smile is totally infectious and she makes characters memorable – and key here, always likeable. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen her play a baddie. Which may be part of her charm. For all I know she’s played plenty of them and I was so enchanted that I sat through whatever she starred in, rooting for her and probably missing the entire point of the movie. That’s how likeable. Obviously about eighty million people, give or take, feel the exact same way. For the record let me also state that I’m a big fan of Ryan Murphy’s. His name might not ring a big bell but he’s the guy behind Glee. And if you think that’s flash-in-the-pan stuff, or if you’d rather swallow broken glass than sit through any TV show with choreography and singing, just remember he’s also the guy behind Nip/Tuck.Which a whole other set of people found difficult to watch. For entirely different reasons. Now, why am I bringing these two people up? Because it’s Friday – Movie Day – and they’ve collaborated on a film that’s opening in theaters to which a lot of women, teens who like Glee, and anyone else who might go in for an escapist chick flick are going to flock. If you’ve somehow missed the rampant advertising campaign featuring J.Ro on a stoop with  a spoon and some frogurt looking wistful, it’s called Eat Pray Love. It too, like many other book adaptations out there, boasts top-notch costars – James Franco and Javier Bardem. I’m really hoping they can make this book work. The mammoth, Oprah-backed blockbuster bestseller about a gal whose marriage tanks and who finds salvation in other ways – via food and a hefty advance paycheck from her book publisher. And I guess there’s some yoga thrown in there too. I know people loved it, and mine is not a popular opinion. I just think Eat Pray Love would have been a good read had its protagonist (let’s hope ably played by Roberts) not been quite so successful (the character — though despondent — wants for nothing except apparently gelato and a hot guy. Everything else is taken care of –  evidently all one need do to achieve total holistic wellness is learn to giggle  in a foreign language).  Nor, on her many pan-continental sojourns of business-class self-discovery does she pay a lot of attention to the dumb stuff like history or architecture. Why would she? It’s not like there’s anything in Italy that’s notable, right? I’ll shut up now because a lot of people worked hard on the film and it deserves a viewing. But it’s Friday and I want to be excited about a Julia Roberts film especially since it was custom-made for my gender and age group. Instead, I will take my marbles to see the other movie opening that isn’t Sylvester Stallone’s shoot ‘em up The Expendables.  This one is called Scott Pilgrim Versus the World and it stars Michael Cera, who gets on some people’s nerves Big Time (not mine) and the idea is a nerdy guy wants to date a girl but he has to take down all her former boyfriends first. That genuinely looks like fun. Plus it’s got a killer soundtrack. The film that will make all the cash this weekend I suspect will be The Expendables, with Sly and Dolph Lundgren and Jason Statham. Couple of mercenary soldiers head down to South America to overthrow a ruthless dictator (is there any other kind?) I can only imagine the bullets. So what do you think? Can Julia Roberts save  an irritating self-indulgent book? Will the scenery be enough to make it watchable (& by scenery I’m including all three leads)? Or will you skip the flicks and do something altogether different. Perhaps you’ll rent Date Night which is now out on DVD and which is very, very funny. If you do decide to stop by a cineplex, voice your choice in today’s featured poll and let us know what movie you’re most excited about seeing this weekend:

1)    Eat Pray Love

2)    The Expendables

3)    Scott Pilgrim Versus the World

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