In case you missed the plethora of billboards on every street in America, this weekend’s opening of Eat Pray Love based on the international best selling memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert is poised for a lucrative release. The Columbia Picture’s project stars America’s timeless sweetheart Ms. Julia Roberts alongside Viola Davis, Richard Jenkins, James Franco, and Javier Bardem, and was both adapted and directed by Ryan Murphy.

Girls, grab an assortment of carbohydrates and prepare to relish this two and a half hour display of post-break up self-indulgence…

The Players:

The Plot:

Liz Gilbert (Roberts) has the husband, the career, and the dream house - but is in desperate need of some soul searching when she abruptly realizes that none of these coveted “acquirement’s” make her happy. Newly divorced, she sets out on a year-long journey of self re-discovey in Italy, India, and Bali where she Eats, Prays, and – you guessed it, Loves.

The Bad:

  • Adaptation: The fear of a weak adaptation often leaves keen supporters of the novel cringing with apprehension. And, rightfully so. I’m a firm believer that certain stories were meant to be read and not “seen’. Primarily because it’s often difficult to compress a book’s content into a screenplay structure adequately – especially if it’s a lengthy read. In the case of Eat Pray Love, Gilbert deals with three major environmental changes stocked with what should be a well-developed, eclectic group of characters. In an attempt to avoid a four hour picture while keeping the film true to the book, all of the character interactions and cultural encounters were cut short.  Squeezing every aspect of the book into the film presents the audiences with the correct story pieces, yes, but without that “build” we can’t feel for what we’re observing. Consequently, the “moments (!)” seem artificial leaving the film devoid of the striking profundity of the novel.

The Good/Bad

  • Very Commercial: The novel involves a number of heavy situations… Heavy situations that would certainly not appeal to the average movie-going audience. Eliminating the darker sides of Gilbert’s memoir make the picture far more commercially pleasing. Wait, what? A box office hungry studio? Shock.

The Good:

  • Acting: Murphy hit the lottery with a top of the heat ensemble. Despite the aforementioned glitches in the overall “success” of the film, it was a well-acted failure. Bravo.
  • Locations: I guarantee that 99% of the theatre was prepared to scuttle over to LAX and hop on a plane to any of the featured destinations. The joie de vivre of each city, visually, was well done.
  • Food: I’ll be damned if anyone exits the theatre without an overwhelming urge for spaghetti. Excellent promotion for Italian restaurants worldwide!
  • Cliche: Yes, the depth is lacking, though the sweet cliches of any chick flick are plentiful. Who isn’t a sucker for the whole “nurturing your soul” theme?


It’s a “feel good” chick flick. If that’s your bag, you’ll love it.

Rating: 4.5/10

The film opens nationwide this Friday.


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