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Movie Review: Julie & Julia

Alternate Title: The Joy of Publishing

Story: Counting calories? Worried about clogged arteries and your cholesterol count? Leave all of that phooey behind and simply enjoy this delicious breezy summer entertainment. It is all about food, finding your passion, sticking to your dream and savoring the tastes that abound. It was written and directed by Nora Ephron and was based on two books - “My Life in France” written by Julia Child along with her great nephew, Alex Prud’homme, and “Julie & Julia” by Julie Powell.

Julia and Julie lived lives separated by half a century. We follow Julia Child's quest for something to do with her life (in 1949) as her adoring husband is placed in Embassies around the world. Lucky for all of us, he landed in France and Julia discovered her love of eating translated well into a love for cooking. Julie Powell finds her life (in 2002) an endless cycle of unfinished projects. While working at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation answering phone calls from those touched by the attacks on the World Trade Center, she decides to tackle a project for a year. She will cook all 524 of Julia Child's recipes in her Mastering the Art of French Cooking book and begin a blog about this challenge. Cooking for both woman is comfort, discovery and joyful.

The scenes with Julia Child are wonderfully rich and entertaining. It takes a little longer to relax into Julie Powell's life and scenes. Julia Child seems to be enthusiastic and full bodied at all times where Julie Powell seems mostly to be simply whiny. That said - I enjoyed all of the scenes that involved cooking (except for the lobsters)and left the theater famished. As Julia Child always said 'Bon appetit'!

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjvJHsJD8ic

And this from PBS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OP08hW602U

Acting: Meryl Streep as Julia Child is marvelous. Somehow she manages to become Julia Child effortlessly. She is a joy. I never think I am going to like Amy Adams (Julie Powell) and always end up changing my mind. She is genuine and fresh and plays Ms Powell very well. Stanley Tucci as Paul Child is nothing less than terrific. Chris Messina as Eric Powell was okay but forgettable. Jane Lynch Dorothy McWilliams has a fabulous cameo. The ensemble cast was terrific and I assume they found every short extra in Hollywood to fill in the other roles so that Meryl Streep looked all of 6"2 and not her real height of 5"6.

Trivia: Read some of Julie Powell's Julie/Julia Project on her blog here. http://blogs.salon.com/0001399/. Here is an article (and photo of her) from the NY Times. http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/p/julie_powell/index.html. Here's an article about her in Salon.com. http://dir.salon.com/story/books/int/2005/10/12/powell/index.html

Predilection: I like Julia CHild and Meryl Streep.

Critters: A gorgeous orange cat and three lobsters (who did not make it).

Food: I cannot possible name all of the dishes that were cooked up for us but I have to confess I cannot get that Boeuf Bourguignon out of my head.

Sex Spectrum: Apparently, much to my surprise Julia and Paul Child had lots and lots of sex. Joie de Vivre!

Blatant Product Placement: There were lots of products featured but the two I remember most were Tums and Sony VAIO computer.

Soundtrack: A wonderful soundtrack to go along with all of the good food.

Opening Titles: We meet each woman moving into their new respective environs (Paris and Queens).

Visual Art: Lovely details abound.

Theater Audience: Pretty crowded for a 10:30 showing on a Sunday morning. I ran across the street to Whole Foods after the film and bought way too much food.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: I did not like the lobster scene.

Drift Factor: It held my attention even though I thought it could have been edited a bit.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: I bet someone will get a nod for their acting.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for sure. For some other films about food, you can rent: Babette's Feast, Big Night, Chocolat, Delicatessen, East Drink Man Woman, Fast Food Nation, Fried Green Tomatoes, Gosford Park, La Grande Bouffe, Like Water for Chocolate, Mostly Martha, My Dinner with Andre, Super Size Me, The Cook, the Thief, his Wife, her Lover and Tom Jones

Length: A pinch over two hours.

LOBO HOWLS: 8