8.15.2010

REVIEW: Eat Pray Love (Ryan Murphy, 2010)

I'd like to believe there's more to this logically marketable bestseller-to-blockbuster adaptation than is present on screen. I'd like to, but flat, by-the-numbers convention discourages such belief. Let's look at a couple scenarios. First we have Liz traveling halfway across the world in hopes of expanding horizons and discovering herself beyond the bounds of nationality, only to take solace in the most American surroundings she can find - an air-conditioned lounge. On top of that, we realize the guru she came to see has left for New York. Did Liz really have to leave her husband or her home at all? Just to have a tiny plate of spaghetti in Rome and sit in an air-conditioned room in India? One may notice these thematically contradictory and ironic subtleties lurking around each corner, but lurking in chains, denied precedence in favor of such groundless, shallow observations as, "having a 'muffin top' is okay". And if you're wondering, no, Roberts does not appear to have gained weight for the role a la Robert De Niro in "Raging Bull" - she simply tries squeezing into tinier jeans to attain the effect. If anything, she looks like she underwent a bargain-bin Botox boost prior to the shoot. At least her hair's nice.

For a movie intent to enlighten through various cultures, it never shakes its strong undercurrent of white supremacy. Rather than learn from these cultures, Liz looks on quizzically before pocketing them as cute pets for some collection. Furthermore, most every key player is caucasian - aside from the "token" black best friend (Viola Davis) - and hints through dialogue their race renders them automatically important. For example, in response to Liz' hesitation to discuss something with the Richard character (Richard Jenkins) in the midst of the well-populated Indian Ashram, Richard demands, "Who else are you going to talk to? I'm the only one here!" Mind you, this is after Liz was about to have an internal meltdown from being surrounded by all the poverty-stricken, Hindi-speaking Indians. She was rescued by the sight of Richard. He's white - sweet relief! Through all this, the film feels extremely presumptuous about its audience. It would be easily argued "Eat Pray Love" is primarily aimed at Americans - more specifically, American women - and since I'm American, that means I'm white, rich and religious, right? In this film's eyes, that's darn tootin'. Well, seeing as now I'm not only white but rich and religious, too, I suppose I should take an expensive, international trip so I can better stuff my face and cozy up to God.

5 comments:

  1. "Jason Statham versus Italian henchmen in "Transporter 4: The Noodling" "

    Somewhere, a bulb came on in some Hollywood exec's head.
    Coming August 2011, if I had to guess.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This time, instead of motor oil, he'll lather up in olive oil!

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  3. And he'll have to eat a spicy meatball every 15 seconds or his stomach explodes!

    Wait, am I getting Statham franchises mixed up? I smell crossover!

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  4. I have yet to see Transporter 3, but from what I understand the writers already got the franchises mixed up for you. What would a crossover look like, though? Statham dual roles... THE CRANKSPORTER!

    ...least likely comment thread for an Eat Pray Love review? Pretty close, at least, I'd say... :D

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  5. Oh, but to expound upon the spicy meatball thing... at some point he'll need to dispatch a big beefy chef guy wielding a cleaver by setting him on fire on the very ovens the chef uses to make his Italian dishes... and, while watching the flaming chef flee, Statham will say (in his regular voice), "Now that's a spicy meatball."

    ... *pause creating an illusion of safety*

    ...THWACK! Statham is taken down by a woman dressed in something blending chef's garb, lingerie and the 1970s punk scene.

    Then after that fight (which will probably end with the woman unknowingly getting herself into a situation that's about to skoosh her... a situation Statham just shrugs/smirks at, letting it happen... so we don't have to feel like Statham just killed a girl) Henry Winkler will walk by with some jet skis and say, "Did you just... 'cause I just..."

    ReplyDelete

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