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
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.
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.)