Tuesday, January 26, 2010

“Julie & Julia”

I’m probably not the only reviewer who liked one half of “Julie & Julia” better than the other. (For those who are wondering, the “Julia” half.) But then, who is Julie Powell (Amy Adams) in comparison to Julia Child (Meryl Streep)? Julie Child is an icon – her kitchen is in the Smithsonian, for Pete’s sake. Julie Powell is a frustrated writer in an unfulfilling job looking for a creative outlet. For Julia, cooking is a passion. While perhaps no less a passion for Julie, her feat is more of a stunt, as she cooks her way through Julia’s classic, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and blogs about it. The truth is, the story of Julia Child and how she became “Julia Child” is just more interesting. The love affair between Julia and her husband, Paul (Stanley Tucci) is charming and something I’d never heard about. So it adds a new dimension to the character we know from “The French Chef.” Post-war Paris, where the Childs live when Paul is a diplomat, is much more picturesque than Queens, N.Y. And Amy Adams is simply outgunned in the acting department. Not only does Meryl Streep have more to work with in Julia Child, she performs the feat of bringing this larger than life character down to earth. In contrast, Amy Adams (who I usually love) feels like she’s trying to keep up, just as Julie is trying to keep up with Julia. Director Nora Ephron does a great job of knitting the two stories together and making them move in parallel paths. And it’s actually quite enjoyable, hence my rating. But I think it would have been even better if it were titled “Nobody & Julia” or better still, “Paul & Julia,” hence my tweet: Julie & Julia-Nora Ephron blends Julia Child’s story with that of blogging admirer Julie Powell and creates a lopsided soufflé. 7.5 (out of 10)

“Julie & Julia”

Released: 2009

Rating: PG-13

Length: 123 minutes

Cast: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina, Jane Lynch

Director: Nora Ephron

Genre(s): Adaptation, Romantic Comedy

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