Random Musings from the Entertainment Desk
J&J= A-OK! or How I Learned to Watch A Movie Where People Cook and Nothing Blows Up
I'll be darned if Amy Adams doesn't just make everything that much better...
It seems that the term “bromance” has latched itself firmly onto our culture these days, like a barnacle onto the hull of a ship. If you’ve some how escaped this formerly funny, now very overplayed concept, allow me to explain and also apologize for ruing your blissful ignorance.
A bromance is a powerful emotional relationship that it shared by two guys. The best examples of this meaningful connection can be found on TV’s “Scrubs” or in the film “I Love You, Man.”
But what of women? Things like “Sex and the City” have prominently featured the platonic relationships between women, but there doesn’t appear to be a term that accurately defines such things.
I propose “wo-mance.” It’s easy to remember, it rolls off the tongue. Look, don’t take my word for it, but just try it out over the next few days and I’m sure you’ll agree that this is the way to go here.
The aforementioned “Sex and the City” certainly falls into this category, but a more recent— and in my humble opinion better— example is “Julie and Julia” which features a Golden Globe Award winning and Academy Award nominated performance from Meryl Streep and another winner from the great and still underrated Amy Adams.
Streep plays the legendary cook, author and TV show host Julia Child, while Adams is Julie Powell, a phone bank worker by day and a talented cook and aspiring blogger by night/ early morning. The two women are worlds apart, so much so that they don’t even share a second of screen time together and yet are still able to bond thanks to a shared passion for cooking.
Now I won’t lie to you— this is NOT a movie that I should like. I don’t have any interest in cooking, I’d never heard of Julia Child before seeing it, I have no real opinion on Streep one way or the other and absolutely NOTHING of any real value blows up during the entirety of the film’s two plus hour run time.
All of that being said, it’s really impossible not to enjoy “Julie and Julia,” it’s just so darn likable. It’s funny, engaging and even heartfelt.
As the film’s title indicates, the relationship between its two leading ladies is the center of the story. As I mentioned, the two don’t appear together in even a single scene, but Adams does a remarkable job of depicting fandom at its core. She lives her life trying to emulate Julie Child, even chastising herself for doing things that Julia may disapprove of.
Think of the way that a teenage girl who wears entirely too much eye makeup and shops exclusively at Hot Topic looks at Robert Pattenson. This is about the same level of obsession that Powell has for Child, but thankfully with much less screaming.
The film follows Child’s life after moving to 1950’s Paris with her wonderfully supportive husband Paul (Stanley Tucci) as she tries to figure out just what to do with herself there. After a failed go at hat making she takes up cooking and viola! A legend is born.
Meanwhile in 2002, Powell is stuck at a job she hates, handling customer service for the company charged with creating the Sept. 11 memorial. Basically, she splits time between being screamed at and providing a shoulder to cry on over the phone. Her friends are mostly high-powered business types and she feels left behind. Eventually she decides to start a blog detailing her adventures cooking her way through her idol Child’s famed cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Naturally, she does this all with the help of her wonderfully supportive husband, Eric (Chris Messina).
The film is essentially made up of two separate stories, but it meticulously details the parallels, not only between the two women, but between their wonderfully supportive husbands as well. It also cleverly tackles the notion of hero worship and the disappointment that comes with realizing your heroes aren’t perfect. The film systematically uses the scenes with Child to poke holes in Powell’s vision of her as a perfect creature without any faults at all.
Across the board, the acting in “Julie and Julia” is incredible. Streep received a well earned Golden Globe for her channeling of Child, while Adams continues to prove herself a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. Tucci and Messina’s characters are sure to have women casting angry eyes at the men in their lives for not being more like those two. Neither is perfect, but their hearts are always in the rightest of places.
It’s painful but undeniably appealing.
“Julie and Julia” is a great example of the “wo-mantic comedy.” Sure, in this case the love is sort of one-sided, but it’s easy to get swept up in Powell’s fantasy world where she and Child are a crime-fighting, culinary super duo. It’s delightfully funny and engaging, but guys should brace themselves for the “why can’t you be more like (insert Tucci or Messina)” speech that is sure to follow fast on the heels of the film’s credits.
Visual Verdict: 'Julie and Julia' was as much fun as pushing a big hoop with a stick