Eat, Pray, Love Redux: The MAN Review

I know Brian Hedge via his work on the website Bradmouth. He’s a good writer and a funny dude. Last Monday, I wrote a review of the film Eat, Pray, Love. I mentioned that guys should see this movie, too, and Brian scoffed at this suggestion, saying no self-respecting MAN would see this movie. Then, he said he would write a review of Eat, Pray, Love, if I would post it on my blog. I adamantly agreed, because in order to write the review, he would actually have to pay for and sit through the entire movie. HA!

So without further ado, I present Brain Hedge’s review of Eat, Pray, Love, entitled …

Eat Pray Snooze

I paid ten bucks for this?
A good travel story needs conflict. It requires developed characters and harrowing adventure. It needs a quest, exotic locales, and a refreshing perspective. Without it, a journey across the globe to new and foreign lands becomes a never ending gauntlet of train stations, airports, hostels, churches, and museums. It becomes just as monotonous and boring as any life you are trying to escape.

An expert backpacker creates conflict. They get blackout drunk, pick fights in bars, show up at bus stations at 3 AM, trust complete strangers, and push the envelope of allowable activities. They are the types that tell their backpack stories as adventures. They go skydiving, visit prisons, experiment with legal drugs, hike in cocoa fields, and develop long lasting relationships in mere seconds. They take risks and of course have some epic failures (most of them involve robberies or gonorrhea), but they live. And when they tell a story about their travels (and their friends pay attention for more than 3 minutes), it can be very exciting.

Liz Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love is a poor backpacker. She rarely leaves her comfort zone. She lives alone in the same accommodations for months at a time. She does not travel to other cities and cops out of activities like a fat girl eyeing the stairs. Each destination, whether it is Italy, India, or Bali just feels like a new car added to a slow moving train. There is no buildup. It is just Liz Gilbert walking through life, often times representing the least exciting thing in the scene (think plants).

Understandably (I have a Y chromosome … I think), I never read the book that this movie is based upon. As a rule, I do not read travel books. I find them embellished, self-righteous, and really boring. Eat, Pray, Love does not disappoint in that regard. It is all those things with a little bit of Ambien mixed in.

Sorry, Julia, but Brian is not amused.
The first 45 minutes is Julia Roberts going through two breakups (one was more than enough), and then trying to convince all her friends that she has to leave for a whole year. (Just do it already. Why are you asking for permission?) Despite some cool scenes with Billy Crudup, this was not in any way enjoyable and I really wish studios would just ban drawn out divorces from film like they did cigarettes a few years ago.

In fact, I almost cheered when Gilbert made it to Italy, because it signaled the end of her one person pity party (and that half the movie was over). I won’t explain the cult she joins in India or her “adventures” in Bali. Mostly because it is making me sleepy just writing that much. Also, if I take the limited plot surprises and interesting character interactions away as you read this article, you will never survive the entire movie. My silence is your life saving drug.

In the end, I remain baffled by why this is a movie. Maybe it works as a book because it is thought provoking and allows the reader to be transported to places they have never been, but hell so did Quantum of Solace. Minus some colorful language and a lengthy ass shot (male of course), this movie would be rated G. There is more adventure to be had in the cold medicine aisle at your local Wal-Mart.

Eat, Pray, Love is not a guy’s movie, it is not a gal’s movie, it is just boring. It is a greater assurance of a nap than a golf tournament or a baseball double header. Philosophical memoirs rarely translate well to film. My suggestion, go buy the soundtrack (surprisingly good) and reserve the book at your local library, but save your money. Put it in a jar marked “Bali” and have an actual adventure ten years from now.

(Sara says: Even though I loved this movie, I also love this review. Thank you, Brian Hedge, for your MAN review of Eat, Pray, Love. And hey, happy birthday.)

12 thoughts on “Eat, Pray, Love Redux: The MAN Review

  1. Haha, so you managed to get Brian, a man, to watch this movie and write a review. That is not bad!

    Anyway, I’ll probably not watch this movie, not that I have anything against movies like these (I loved P.S. I Love You a lot), maybe it is just that I am not much into traveling.

    Nicely written, thanks!

    1. It was part of my ploy. (Sure, I’ll post your review, but you have to pay for a movie ticket first mwa-HAHA!) Never saw P.S. I Love You. Huh. Was it really worth it? I’m not usually big on so-called “chick flicks,” but I did love this book, so I had to try the movie. Maybe I’ll give more chick flicks a chance. Urg … well … maybe not. We’ll see. Doubt my boyfriend would really be into a change in my movie preferences. Especially if I head in the rom-com direction.

      1. I am a guy with interests in geek stuff like sci-fi and action movies but I got dragged into watching this by my girl friend.

        And I have to admit that it is a nice movie. It is not a romantic comedy or anything like that. It doesn’t make you laugh but it does remind all of us to appreciate the people around us and never take them for granted.

        A movie worth keeping. By the way since you are asking, there is a review written on my website comparing both the book and the movie. You can check it out if you want to.

      2. Hmm. Well, I think the movie would make me cry my eyes out, to be honest. Maybe. I’ll see it sometime, but I really don’t think I can talk Jake into watching it with me 🙂 Thanks for the suggestion! I might just pick up the book, too!

  2. I love this review. I can totally “get it” from a guy’s perspective.

    But as a girl, I also liked (not loved) the movie. I loved (not liked) the book. Making this book into a movie probably sounded better on paper than it turned out.

    And I’m right with you on loving the soundtrack – that may be one of the better parts of the film. 😉

    1. I cried when they played Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” at their wedding. Cried like a little baby. Soundtrack=excellence.

  3. You got it all wrong. The film wasn’t an adventure travelogue. If that’s what you were expecting, go watch National Geographic. It wasn’t made to entertain you, which it sounds like movies must do for you. She is a 30+ something professional woman on an inner journey, not a back packer exploring Europe. I do believe you missed the point. Don’t bother reading the book, I don’t think you’d get it.

  4. The best part of that comment, “it wasn’t made to entertain you”. 🙂 of course not

    I see nothing wrong with an inner journey and your right, calling Gilbert a backpacker is a stretch.

    I think what bothers me the most is that she bought an “I am silent” button at her church/cult gift shop. That didn’t seem odd to anyone else? Seems like she was trying WAY too hard.

    I think my favorite travel movie is Before Sunrise. It lets dialogue guide you, not horrible narration.

  5. One of the loveliest ideas of her story is to find a word that describes the essence of who you are. Mine is journey because I know Life is a journey. No matter where we are or what is happening, it is not permanent. It’s the journey and we have the opportunity to grow from it.

    Based on Brian’s rather testosterone laced, cynical review, I wonder what his word is?

    By the way, my husband, ex-airforce pilot and survivor, loved the movie.

    Tip: don’t go hungry. The food shots in Italy are heavenly.

  6. LOL That is funny! The big problem I had with this movie was the ending, which seemed to countermand everything that Liz was trying to accomplish by getting away – finding herself, by herself. Not to say that she should never jump into a relationship again, but I did have a problem with her jumping into a relationship with a darsch that apparently enjoys kissing his male kids on the lips. Ugh.

  7. Didn’t hate it like most, mainly thanks to Julia Roberts, but I must say that this does suffer from some scenes that run on way too-long. But I can easily say that I wasn’t bored, just not totally satisfied. Good review, check out mine when you can!

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