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Eat Pray Love (PG)

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Review byMatthew Turner27/09/2010

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 133 mins

Eat Pray Love has some decent performances and the occasional good moment but it's ultimately let down by a tedious, self-satisfied script, a shocking lack of humour and a criminally indulgent running time.

What's it all about?
Directed by Ryan Murphy (Running With Scissors, Nip/Tuck, Glee) Eat Pray Love is based on the bestselling book by Elizabeth Gilbert and stars Julia Roberts as 40-something writer Liz, who realises she's unhappy in her marriage to Stephen (Billy Crudup) and promptly divorces him before beginning an affair with David (James Franco), a much younger actor.

However, when her relationship with David also goes wrong, Liz decides to heed the words of a medicine man (Hadi Subiyanto) she met on a travel assignment and sets off on a voyage of self-discovery that takes her to Italy (where she does a lot of eating), India (where she does a lot of praying) and Bali, where she does a lot of loving with fellow divorcee Felipe (Javier Bardem).

The Good
To be fair, the Italy section of the film is relatively enjoyable, as Liz strikes up a likeable friendship with a Swedish woman (Tuva Novotny as Sofi) and there's a good speech about eating and not caring about putting on weight, even if you never actually see Liz with anything resembling the “muffin top” they talk about.

Roberts isn't really stretching herself here but her performance is fine and there's strong support from Novotny, Franco, Richard Jenkins (as a Texan Liz meets in India) and Viola Davis, who has gone from being Oscar-nominated to playing Julia Roberts' sassy best friend. That said, Javier Bardem seems unusually restrained and boring – Roberts actually has more chemistry with Jenkins than with her ostensible leading man.

The Bad
The main problem is the script, which just assumes you'll sympathise with Liz because she's played by Julia Roberts, when actually she's remarkably self-obsessed and fails to acknowledge her not insignificant part in the failure of her relationships. Similarly, the dialogue becomes increasingly banal and there's a shocking lack of humour throughout, which makes the criminally indulgent 133 minute running time feel like an eternity.

Worth seeing?
Eat Pray Love is a poorly written, badly paced and frequently tedious drama that fails to engage on an emotional level. Pray you don't get dragged to see it.
Eat Pray Love London Premiere

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Eat Pray Love (PG)
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Content updated: 23/01/2011 20:28

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