To be quite honest, I wasn't anticipating the new Julia Roberts' film, "Eat Pray Love." Chick flicks don't usually float my boat. But I was pleasantly surprised that the big screen adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert's best-seller was chock-full of little gems.
Roberts plays Liz Gilbert, an author/wife residing in New York who has become disillusioned with her life. Against her best friend's (Viola Davis) advice, she divorces her husband (Billy Crudup), has a brief affair with a struggling actor (James Franco) and eventually takes off for a round-the-world journey.
First stop, Italy (Eat). In Liz's quest for self-discovery, she eats her way through the country. Second stop, India (Pray). Through prayer and meditation, Liz finds inner peace. Third stop, Bali (Love), where she finds unexpected love in the form of Javier Bardem (who wouldn't?). Will love hinder her newly acquired inner peace?
Let's face it, "Eat Pray Love's" storyline itself is pretty lame, but the acting, cinematography, dialogue and score rock. Director/writer Ryan Murphy ("Running With Scissors") has crafted a sumptuous travelogue, which more than makes up for the flimsy plot.
A gaggle of goofy characters, whom Liz encounters on her tenacious trek, help elevate the humor level to high. Midway through the film, Richard Jenkins ("The Visitor") shows up as a fellow devotee in India and manages to steal every scene from Ms. Roberts with his enduring antics. A witty repartee between Liz and her best friend includes the comment, "Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face. You'd better be committed." These are the moments which help "Eat Pray Love" sparkle.
When Oprah Winfrey endorses a book that spent three years on the New York Times Best Seller list, scoring at the box office shouldn't be a problem. But "Eat Pray Love" is a pretty nice ride. Buy a ticket, sit back and enjoy it.
— Pam Nadon
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