2009-08-28 / Entertainment/Lifestyles


'Julie & Julia' - Chef Streep
By Robert Snyder

Be warned.

Do not go to "Julie & Julia" on an empty stomach, or prepare to eat plenty of popcorn. Otherwise, you will suffer. The abundance of exquisite food displayed throughout the film will have your gastric juices churning.

Based on the autobiographies of cooking maven Julia Child and food blogger Julie Powell, "Julie & Julia" is cinematic cuisine prepared by writer/ director Nora Ephron into a comic soufflé that, at more than two hours, is a bit overcooked.

While Meryl Streep incarnates Julia Child to yodel-voiced perfection, the sub-story about working girl/celebrity chef-wannabe Julie Powell gives actress Amy Adams the Herculean task of competing with the master thespian for audience attention. Playing the young cutie pie part usually reserved for Meg Ryan in Ephron films ('Sleepless in Seattle," "You've Got Mail"), Adams struggles through a parallel plotline in 21st century Queens. She's up against the Child-Streep adventure in-eating set against the backdrop of post-war Paris and the Eisenhower '50's when Julia's "The French Chef" hit TV Land like the Atom Bomb.

Yes, they both have supportive, sexstarved husbands (Stanley Tucci with Streep, Chris Messina with Adams), who are driven crazy by their spouses' food obsession. But otherwise, Julia Child and Julie Powell are from opposite ends of the universe. Which may explain why the aged Child ultimately disses Powell as a pretender to the Culinary Crown. They never actually meet, but Powell hears of the putdown from a reporter. Julie's hurt, though not enough to cancel her blog-bookmovie deal which led to Ephron's film.

Still, the potpourri of French cuisine sailing across the silver screen almost makes the film good enough to eat or worth the admission price. However, when well into the film, Dan Aykroyd's classic "Saturday Night Live" "Save the Liver!" Julia Child imitation steals the thunder from the Divine Ms. Streep, it's obvious that "Julie & Julia" has lost its comic footing.

Time to forget the dessert and get the check.

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