My review of "Julie & Julia"
Julie & Julia
When I first heard of "Julie & Julia" I hoped that it might be some kind of lesbian food porn thing, but as is usual in my life, I was disappointed. Then, I knew I was doomed when the screen lit up with "Written and Directed by Nora Ephron." Ephron, of course, wrote "When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle," and "You've Got Mail," all featuring the now long-withered talents of Meg Ryan. Nora specializes in writing female leads who are cute, perky and just a touch ditzy, which many people find adorable, but privately makes me want to ball up my fist and punch them where the bruises won't show. Amy Adams, who is the "Julie" of the movie, is basically just Meg Ryan with fewer miles on the clock and less plastic surgery. I can't speak to whether she is any more sane.
The film turns out to be an adaptation of two memoirs: one, by Julia Child, about her glorious years in France in the 50's with her diplomat husband, the other, by failed writer Julie Powell, about her belief that an obsession with Julia Child was the way to escape her numbing life as phone monkey taking calls in a New York bureaucracy intended to provide support for 9/11 victims and living above a pizzeria in Queens. The film bounces back and forth between the two stories the way the Wizard of Oz moved between wonderous color-saturated Oz and the airless, depressing black-and-white world of Kansas. Note: Oz is a fantasy. Kansas really exists. And so does Queens.
Julia Child was played by the grande dame of over-rated Hollywood movies, Meryl Streep. They should have just given Streep the Oscar she is undoubtedly going to get for her performance before the filming and let her wear it in the movie as strap-on. That would have at least provided some visual interest. Plus, "Julie & Julia" had one of the most horrifying scenes ever filmed: Middle-aged Julia Child and her bald, four-eyed husband engaged in foreplay. The scene lasted only seconds, but stays with me still. Streep plays Julia Child as if the sous chef at the Ritz had just shoved an ice cube up her ass: wild gesticulating, eyes rolling, and voice leaping up and down two or three registers in a single sentence. To make matters worse, Ephron makes a grievous error by using that classic SNL clip of Dan Akroyd impersonating Julia Child, which makes you realize that he gave a better performance as Julia Child in three minutes than Meryl Streep did in two hours.
The audience was remarkable. The average movie goer was so old that instead of eating French cuisine, it looked like most of them probably have their food prepared by Meals On Wheels. And after the movie was over, my strongest desire was to bugger the Beef Bourguignon and have a Double-Double Cheeseburger, Animal Style, from IN-N-OUT Burger.