The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Who will be the first guy in America to admit he likes 'Eat Pray Love'?

Julia_roberts I may watch a lot of "SportsCenter," but that doesn't mean I don't like a wonderfully warm 'n' fuzzy women's picture, whether it's a great Lubitsch film like "The Shop Around the Corner" or one of Nora Ephron's cinematic souffles, like last year's "Julie & Julia." But there are chick flicks and then there chick flicks like Ryan Murphy's "Eat Pray Love," the sudsy Julia Roberts big-screen romance that opens on Friday opposite the testosterone-filled, throwback action picture  "The Expendables." Judging from the buzz I'm hearing, Sony might need to engage in some sort of mass hypnosis to lure any red-blooded American guy away from the Sly Stallone movie and into a theater showing "Eat Pray Love." As one female film executive I know put it: "I think I'd have better luck getting my husband to spend an afternoon at Bed, Bath and Beyond than seeing that movie."

Chick flicks (even good ones, like Richard Curtis' "Love, Actually") rarely get any traction with male film critics, especially squishy travelogues that take us around the world and back, as "Eat Pray Love" does. So I thought I'd keep track of how many male critics--if any--succumb to the film's pleasures. The early reviews don't bode well for "Love" having any serious male critic crossover potential.

At Rotten Tomatoes, "Love" has a lowly 25 Fresh Ratings so far, with six of the eight reviews currently posted giving it the old thumbs down. The one guy who gave it a good review is Steve Persall of the St. Petersburg Times, who offered the faint praise that it was, ahem, better than "Sex and the City 2." It sounds like Persall was awfully hungry when he saw the film, which might explain why he was so enthusiastic. As he writes: "At the very least it's a terrific travelogue starring someone we'd follow to the ends of the Earth. 'Eat Pray Love' is like one of those rich dishes [Julia Roberts] consumes in Italy: robustly flavored and guiltily pleasurable."

The other guys on the critic beat were less kind. Noting that the film clocks in at a "bloated" 140 minutes, Variety's Justin Chang says "director Ryan Murphy's superficial take on Elizabeth Gilbert's phenomenally successful memoir is an exotic junk-foot buffet that offers few lasting pleasures or surprises, let alone epiphanies. Sony's release should do well with a sizable and underserved audience of older femmes, though Gilbert's more discriminating readers may find themselves reaching for pillows and Pepto-Bismol by the end of this overlong voyage."

If any of my male readers see the film this weekend, please share your thoughts--and whether you needed to pop any Pepto-Bismol after the experience. I'll be watching to see if the movie passes muster with a lot more male film critics, but right now, I'm not holding my breath. 

Photo: Julia Roberts at the world premiere of "Eat Pray Love" in New York this week. Credit: Evan Agostino / Associated Press

 
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Are you kidding me? There are women who are hating this film that glorifies self-indulgence under the guise of spirituality! I've read a number of reviews online and many of the negative reviews are written by women. That should tell H'wood something. If even the women don't like this "chick flick" how can you expect a man to stomach it?

The male equivalent title is Drink, Swear, Fight. Probably Stallone has those ingreediants.

Now I would like you to write the exact same article but this time about The Expendables. But you are not going to put down at a man's movie are you? You are not going to write about how awful this film is for women or how women wouldn't be seen dead watching this movie. You're not going to write that are you? Whenever a "women's" movie comes out -the male press resort to sexist journalism. Feel for us poor women who have to sit through another boring boy movie with guns and F-words. But you'll never see that in print.

Sexist journalism.

I'm still waiting on your article "Who will be the first gal in America to admit he likes 'The Expendables.' Otherwise what you print here is just the usual sexist b/s! Where are your articles shouting out against the uber violent and macho The Expendables? Do you think you should also write about whether women would want to watch it? Nah, you're just another sexist journalist.

much too much information overwhelm on the internet and blogs. this dangerously dilutes the capacity for americans to understand the real world of life and death. i say unto you leave the united states for at least six months and get reprogrammed just like the grunt marine in james camerons avatar. remember the blue square "ejaculates" when she first meets the grunt marine you are a baby a moron go way. also remember in 2010 with the guru. if your cup is too full you cannot learn anything just as the mother of the blue squaw said to her daughter go cure his insanity.

 
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