I’m at work at the moment, stuck on hold with someone trying to deactivate a wireless terminal. Thankfully I have The Corner to keep me company. I was reading a review of Julie & Julia by Fred Schwarz which sums up a lot of how I felt about the film. One of his major points:
First of all, potential viewers should know that even in this seemingly light and innocuous story, the screenwriter/director, Nora Ephron, can’t resist indulging her political obsessions. In the Julia Child sections, people keep grumbling about Sen. Joe McCarthy, who had either a minuscule effect on Paul Child’s diplomatic career or none at all. A mystifyingly elaborate subplot seems to exist for the sole purpose of mocking Julia’s father — a Republican! (gasp) —who is as harrumphy and reactionary as every conservative in a Hollywood movie. And in one of the present-day scenes, Julie’s boss, completely unprompted, says, “If I were a Republican, I would fire you!”
the movie doesn’t really have a story to tell. You can imagine how the project got approved: Julie’s blog was popular among twentysomethings (though it’s hard to fathom why from the few brief excerpts she reads on screen), and older folks remember Julia Child, and everybody likes food, so it should have universal appeal. The problem is that it’s basically a movie about a cookbook, and every bit as xciting as you’d expect a film on the book-publishing industry to be.
The thing is, I actually did find the movie more enjoyable than Mr. Schwarz- which is a sad commentary on this years summer movies. I mean, this movie was a standard chick flick, but I feel that the audience really got into it (Its telling though that no one laughed at any of the jokes poking fun at American tastes). A lot of the movies I’ve seen this past year: (500) Days of Summer, Watchman, Revoluntary Road (OK, so that was last year) and the like have just been big downers. It’s encouraging that Hollywood decided to make something that doesn’t make you feel like shit when you leave the theater. But, In reality, blogging is not exactly gripping drama. The only moment of drama that really challenges Julie (the blogger) is when her perfect husband suddenly erupts into anger over her blogging. After the scene is over their marriage goes back to culinary bliss. Ephron clearly didn’t have much material to work with here.
While I feel that Mr. Schwarz is by and large correct in his assessment of the film. I do think the film deserves credit for not making you want to slit your wrists.