Earlier today, we took a look at what the critics are saying about “The Expendables,” Sylvester Stallone’s bullet-riddled action flick that should reel in around $30 million this weekend. The likely candidate for second place at the box office is a film that couldn’t be more different than Sly’s shoot-’em-up popcorn adventure: “Eat Pray Love,” Julia Roberts’ globe-trotting journey of nonstop noshing, sexual awakening and inner peace.
Not that the two films have nothing in common. They both take place in exotic locales and have main characters who shake up their personal lives. And they both have received decidedly mixed reviews. Here’s what critics are saying about “Eat Pray Love”:
“Based on the memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert, it’s the story of a successful writer (Roberts) who, like Dante, finds herself in her mid-thirties feeling lost and without direction. She ends her marriage to her sweet but hapless husband (Billy Crudup) and, after the obligatory affair with a sensitive young hunk (James Franco, of course), she decides to renew herself through travel. First she’ll go to Italy and enjoy good food. Then to India, to pray in an ashram. And then to Bali, to find love.” — Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
“Roberts doesn’t look much like Liz Gilbert — although she has indeed absorbed some of her mannerisms — after all she gets paid to look like Julia Roberts. She gives a nice performance here, ranging from brassy to vulnerable to drunkenly flirtatious. It isn’t her fault that the script tries to jam a memoir into the romantic-comedy template, spiced liberally with New Age nostrums, and can’t quite get it right.” — Andrew O’Hehir, Salon
The Adaptation From Book to Screen
“The film’s most crucial constituency — the book’s rabid fans — are likely to feel well served by Murphy’s adaptation, which hews pretty faithfully to Gilbert’s story. (He veers off the path most wildly in India, where he was stuck filming Roberts meditating, or trying to meditate, for hours on end, full stop.) And even newcomers, men included, can enjoy being swept up in the film’s lavish third chapter, where Gilbert meets a seductive Brazilian named Felipe (Javier Bardem) and embarks on a luscious love affair amid the verdant terraces and soft beaches of Bali.” — Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post
“Shot in burnished magic-hour light (the crew must have toiled feverishly over a hundred dawns and dusks), with rapturous attention paid to dishes of prosciutto and melon, and to the dishy men in Liz’s life (Billy Crudup as the husband she leaves, James Franco as the rebound beau and finally, Javier Bardem, as the hopelessly sensitive, sensual soul mate), the film is a glorious travelogue, a charmer.” — Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
The Final Word
“For a film about a woman whose motto is ’I’m through with the guilt,’ Roberts and [director Ryan] Murphy & Co. have delivered a guilty pleasure. It’s great to see her in something this light again, looking much as she did 10 years ago. ’Eat Pray Love’ allows Roberts’ longtime fans to travel the world, and back in time with her. If only we all could eat until we pop and age in reverse and still have the glow of amber backlighting.” — Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
Check out everything we’ve got on “Eat Pray Love.”
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