Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Video review: "Eat Pray Love"

It's good to see Julia Roberts back in serious-actress mode a decade after "Erin Brockovich." But "Eat Pray Love" was not the right movie to cement her comeback.

Based on the best-selling memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert, it's the story of an early-middle-aged woman who goes through a nasty divorce and decides to spend a year traveling the world. She spends time in Italy searching for the perfect pizza, in India getting in touch with her new-found spiritual roots, and finally in Indonesia where she falls in love with a Brazilian businessman played by Javier Bardem.

It's all a little too rote, and no wonder: Gilbert came up with the idea for the book beforehand, and used the advance money to finance her trip.

Those who've read it (unlike me) say the author is very upfront about the calculated nature of the whole enterprise, but the movie doesn't offer a peep. She's supposed to just leave her home in a whirlwind of passion and soulful discombobulation.

She meets a variety of characters, including a toad-like little holy man, a drawling Texas who shares her faith in Hinduism, and the aforementioned Latin lover.

It's a beautiful-looking movie without much really going on in its head, or its heart.
Bonus features are served in rather modest helpings.

Oddly, the centerpiece of the offerings is an extended version of the film. At a sprawling 139 minutes, the last thing this movie needed to be is longer.

The DVD comes with the extended version and a single featurette following director Ryan Murphy's journey to make the film.

In addition, the Blu-ray edition boasts a trio more featurettes: A making-of doc, and two more on Finding Balance and Praying in India.

For the true videophile, that's hardly adequate nourishment to justify buying your own copy.

Movie: 2 stars out of four
Extras: 2

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