Poor Dumbo. And the elephant isn’t looking all that great, either.
Here are the five main reasons for which I found the movie Eat Pray Love unbelievably unwatchable:
1. The Julia Roberts character is so shallow you couldn’t drown a cat in it. First Liz (Julia Roberts) divorces her husband (Billy Crudup), for virtually no reason beyond that he’s a little uncomfortable holding babies and hasn’t yet found his professional calling. (Though, given how and where the couple live, they’re clearly crazy rich. So, you know.) Liz next initiates a relationship with a vapid boy-toy (James Franco), fourteen-years her junior. For no apparent reason she then breaks up with him in order to embark on her Body Functions Across the World tour. And that’s the reason she spends the rest of the movie swampy-eyed and wistfully gazing into the middle distance while, via the movie’s voice-over, speaking her own special language of Bumper Stickers by Yoda.
2. All the side characters were clearly hired from Hackneyed Hollywood Stereotypes, Inc. The soulful, wise black female friend. The soulful, handsome Italian paramour (that we’re given to understand wants Elizabeth—and she him—before he suddenly and inexplicably falls for the new best friend Liz has made in Italy). The soulful old Italian mama. The soulful, toothless old Asian man. The soulful, handsome Brazilian man who cooks, reads, loves, laughs, lounges and lives in a huge, richly appointed house on the beach. It’s like central casting had a clearance sale.
3. Not enough India. I’d bet my house that after having shot the lavish, Rome-encompassing first third of this film, its producers realized that they were vastly over-budget. Because the second third of the movie takes place in India, and all of it takes place inside a run-down ashram. That’s it. That’s all of India that we see—except for this one part, where there’s an elephant. And clearly by then things had gotten so bad, budget-wise, that the only elephant the producers could afford was a skinny, geriatric one—with mange. So sad.
4. It’s excruciatingly boring to watch someone meditate. The one great thing about this movie is that it once and for all answers the age-old question: Once you’ve moved the camera in a big sweeping circle around a person sitting perfectly still meditating, what else can be done to render that moment interesting? The answer is … move the camera in a circle going the other way! And if you then simply hold the camera on the meditating person, you will, through the wondrous magic of cinema, put your audience in a special trance all of their own. One where they’re certain to end up snoring like buzz saws.
5. They took the commas out of the title. The title of the Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling book is Eat, Pray, Love. Why’d the people who made this movie ditch the commas in the title? We’ll never know. But my guess is that they were afraid that the audience they were hoping to reach with this movie would only be confused by commas.
Liz eats very little in India or Bali, but in Italy eats tons. She prays once at her home in New York, not at all in Italy, and meditates a lot in both India and Bali. She loves a little in Italy, not at all in India, and a lot with the Mr. Moony Eyes in Bali.
Annnnd now you’ve seen the whole movie. You’re welcome.