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Eat Pray Love (DQ)


Stars: Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, James Franco, Billy Crudup, Viola Davis, Richard Jenkins, Hadi Subiyanto, Tuva Novotny, Luca Argentero, Sophie Thompson, Rushita Singh, Christine Hakim, T J Power

Director: Ryan Murphy

Or better: drink, pray, sleep. Julia Roberts ditches her husband (Crudup) and takes up with an actor (Franco). Soon she leaves him too - and goes on a world tour to find both herself and inner peace. We should all have the money to enjoy such alternatives - but then Julia does play a best-selling authoress, so that's OK.

After four months in Italy - the section of the film that comes closest to entertainment - she heads to India, meditation and gurus, territory mined by The Beatles four decades earlier. Thence to Bali where she runs into importer Bardem, who is clearly Emile de Becque out of South Pacific. They do consummate their romance some enchanted evening, but, just to keep us for another 10 minutes, she has a last-minute row with him before heading for Heaven on the horizon.

Watching paint dry would come a close second to all this, but at least you can chuckle at such aphorisms as 'Having a baby is like having a tattoo on your face - you've got to be fully committed', or 'It's not that I need easy right now, just that I can't have so hard'. Director Murphy, who did such a good job with TV's Nip/Tuck is seriously out of his depth here, but better men than him would struggle with this soaking-wet script (which he also co-wrote). Lush background scenery is a very minor compensation.

David Quinlan

USA 2010. UK Distributor: Sony (Columbia). Colour by deluxe.
140 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 22 Sep 2010