Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci | PG-13 |
Here's my review boiled down to its essence: Give us more Julia, less Julie. In Julie & Julia, writer-director Nora Ephron (You've Got Mail) smoothly shuttles between two real-life stories. The one that grabs you, partly thanks to Streep's gloriously exuberant turn, is that of Julia Child. After Child and her adoring husband (Tucci) move to Paris in 1948 for his job, she struggles to find her path as a cook and cookbook author. (She succeeded, going on to become America's first superstar TV chef in the '60s.) The lesser second story, which keeps dragging J&J down, is that of whining Julie Powell, a New York City cubicle worker bee who devotes a year to whipping up—and blogging about—all 524 recipes in Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking (and later writing a bestselling memoir about it). As in life, Child is the original in J&J, Powell the pale imitator. When Streep is onscreen, the film sizzles; with Adams (not really her fault) it merely simmers. Warning: Do not see J&J on an empty stomach. The food shown—I'm craving that butter-drenched sole meunière—will make you ravenous.