Julie & Julia - Review
Review by Jack Foley
AS APPETISING as the on-screen reunion of Meryl Streep and Amy Adams appears, Julie & Julia is the type of lightweight concoction that may leave you hungry for more.
Directed by Nora Ephron and boasting a considerably lighter tone than Streep and Adams’ last outing, Doubt, it’s an amusing but inconsequential effort supposedly based on two true stories.
Set across two time periods, the film focuses on New York foodie and writer Julie Powell (Adams) as she attempts to blog her way through every recipe in chef Julia Child’s cookbook in a set amount of time, and Childs (Streep) herself, as she makes a name for herself as one of her nation’s beloved cooks.
The main problem with these two stories, however, is that one is more engaging than the other, thereby providing an uneven recipe for success. The running time, too, feels like Ephron has had her cake and eaten it!
But Streep, as ever, is fun to watch as Childs, clearly revelling in another of those summery roles that doesn’t require her to vex too many of her acting muscles (after Mamma Mia!).
And it helps that she’s paired with another former co-star, Stanley Tucci (of Devil Wears Prada fame), as her husband – as the two make a delightful couple.
Sadly, Adams’ story isn’t quite so endearing, with the main dramatic impetus coming from discovering whether she’ll complete the book in time. Audiences may well be left to ponder, “is that it”?
Adams, for her part, is typically appealing and does her best with what limited dramatic material there is, although her husband, played by Chris Messina, doesn’t really get much to do and fails to make the same impression as Tucci.
The cooking scenes will probably set stomachs rumbling and ensure restaurants fare well in the aftermath of any screenings.
But there’s also the suspicion that UK audiences may be hindered by a lack of appreciation for Childs, too, whose fame is mostly enjoyed in America.
That said, if it’s breezy fluff you’re seeking, spearheaded by two strong central performances, then it’s a good film for switching the brain off and just going with the flow. If nothing else, it may just give you a few new recipe ideas!
Running time: 123mins
UK Release Date: September 11, 2009