Julie & Julia Directed by: Nora Ephron Cast: Amy Adams, Meryl Streep, Chris Messina, Stanley Tucci Running Time: 1 hr 50 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: August 7, 2009
Plot: A woman (Adams) attempts to bake the 524 recipes from Julia Child's "Mastering The Art of French Cooking" in only 365 days. At the same time, the film explores the process of Child (Streep) trying to get that exact book published.
Who’s It For? People who prefer the idea of dessert over a main course, and can digest the overly sugary charm of something (in this case, a chick flick) with little problem. Drooling over extensive views of The Food Network also helps. Yes, Zach Allen, you.
Expectations: I may consider myself a somewhat picky eater, but the same doesn't go for movies. If the two J's are entertaining enough and Nora Ephron's adapted screenplay doesn't use too many ingredients more commonly used in chick flicks, this could be quite a delight.
Actors: Amy Adams as Julie Powell: This character lives in a less cuter reality than her god, Julia Child. This might explain why Powell appears quite sensitive, with Adams using her doe-eyes to hinge on a near overload of fragility. She tends to explode in child-like fits that end with "why does this always happen to me?!" In Doubt she seemed to be fighting back tears, but now Adams lets them rip as if to try to change the teardrop quota for chick flicks. Score: 4
Meryl Streep as Julia Child: The almighty Streep gives a winking performance as one of the world’s favorite cooks, tending to make this key figure appear too cutesy. Sure, Julia gets more laughs than her modern counterpart, but mostly because she has the amusing advantage of being played by an often dramatic, multi-Oscar winning actress. Dampening to sparkle of this performance is her actually her story line, which is a bit too drawn out and at times quite uninteresting (more on that later). Score: 5
Chris Messina and Stanley Tucci as The Husbands: Rarely are inanimate objects more romanticized than their screen partners. In the case of Julie & Julia, the food is made to be more endearing and soulful than the cardboard husbands, who are placed in both the stories with little purpose or personality of their own. Chris Messina's character is especially flat as a dime, as he makes that amount of a turn for a cheap romantic breakdown moment. Score: 3
Talking: Powell talks about Julia constantly, as if she were a historian who dreams at night of one day being possessed by Child’s spirit. She only whips up her own impression of the famous cook once, which just the right amount. Score: 5
Sights: To coyly provide a laugh or two not from the chuckle family, the film takes a minute or two to show Dan Aykroyd's famous parody of Julia Child from "Saturday Night Live." The stories of Julie & Julia are cut and glued at cliffhanger points, but they are more focused on their paralleling than anything else. Thus, some segments are dragged longer than they should be. Score: 5
Sounds: "Psycho Killer" by Talking Heads is used uniquely in a lobster cooking sequence, and "Time After Time" (the Nick Gilder/James McCulloch standard, not the one by Cyndi Lauper) makes for a good bookmark through the film. Alexander Desplat provides a cheery score. Score: 5
Best Scene: I like Chris Messina, especially his performance in Ira & Abby. So I was pleased to see him dance around with lobsters while singing Talking Heads in the aforementioned scene.
Ending: Julie finally gets calls from literary agents and publishers, and then gets word from someone close to Julia Child that her hero "hates" her.
Questions: Wait, what? After all of that, Julia Child says she doesn't like Julie? Why does that happen, Nora? TELL US!
Rewatchability: No thanks. If my roommate buys this, I will beg her for pretty much anything else, even if it means another viewing of Ephron's earlier Sleepless in Seattle.
Two half-interesting stories are combined in hopes of making one intriguing film, but to little success. Seen from a romantic angle with a whole bunch of "cute" sprinkled all over, the tales of the J's are about women dedicated to their passions (food, writing, and sometimes husbands). In all actuality, Julie & Julia is really about two wannabe cooks that just want to be respected writers, and how they blog or translate recipes furiously in order to reach that point. Sounds appealing, right?
If that's the case, when do I get to be played by Robert Pattinson in "The Scorecard Review: The Movie?"
Final Score: 4/10