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Eat, Pray, Love, Review

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Mark Kermode | 12:50 UK time, Friday, 24 September 2010

Sometimes there's a rare kind of film that comes along with a message that speaks to the very core of your being. The brand new Julia Roberts vehicle, Eat Pray Love, based on Elisabeth Gilbert's autobiographical tome of the same name, is just such a film.

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Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    What a shame that Ms Roberts didn't finish her meal with a "waff-air thin mint..."

  • Comment number 2.

    Dealing with the themes of self-discovery and spirituality in Hollywood no doubt will for a long time be problematic. I suspect that those individuals who would be in the insightful position to be able to instill in a film the necessary sincerity either are not involved in the film industry, or do not have enough clout to direct such a film. Casting would be a nightmare - to find actors and actresses suitable. The only director I could imagine coming anywhere close to pulling it off would be Terry Gilliam, and that would need to be a sizable departure from his usual style.

  • Comment number 3.

    Oh Kermode, you put the Mark in Marxism!

    Really though there are way too many films about spoilt rich girls and it's a shame that you just brought another one to my attention.

  • Comment number 4.

    I saw Jon Stewarts (or it mught have been Stephen Colbert)review of this a few weeks ago and I immediately marked it as "avoid at all cost"

    then they released the trailer with "Florence and the Machine" shouting over the top of it and I wanted to scratch my face off until it stopped.

    Please, NEVER mention Julia Roberts again. I can't disfigure my face any more!

  • Comment number 5.

    It's the best Julia Roberts bulimia film of the week

  • Comment number 6.

    Whenever I see that title, I keep thinking "Eats shoots leaves".

    Does Lynn Truss get a credit ?

  • Comment number 7.

    Thanks Mark. This is just the sort of film I'm going to want to see.

    Once I've loosened these restraints.

  • Comment number 8.

  • Comment number 9.

    " have sex with Javier Bardem on a beach without worrying about our credit card bills "

    How about without worrying that Javier has a cattle stunning killing device, and intent to use. (That said, most of his films since No Country... could probably have been improved if he had).

    From the looks of this film it would make a perfect double-feature with Sex and the City 2. Can films be labelled misogynist if they encourage you to hate the woman in them?

    The scariest thing is that I had already started thinking of this film by Mark's suggested title before I saw either the trailer or his review. The Vomitorium was the name of the exit from a Roman theatre, thanks to our critics who suffer through this guff for our benefit, we can skip pay, sit, eat, pray, love, vomit, and just not go in.

  • Comment number 10.

    ha! great review. made me laugh

  • Comment number 11.

    Hmmm I believe this film is the sequal to the much maligned 'Drink, poo, sleep', which was actually a hard hitting expose of extreme laxative addiction. where did it all go wrong?

  • Comment number 12.

    This made me laugh so much! I work in a certain highstreet bookshop and after a week of selling this bilge to people who should know better, this was just what I needed. I think I have a new sales pitch.

  • Comment number 13.

    Javier Bardem's introduction to the world of romantic comedy is almost as bewildering as Gerard Butler's. What's next? The paedo from The Lovely Bones?

  • Comment number 14.

    When I saw this title I couldn't help but think of the South Park episode "Eat, Pray, Queef". On the basis of your review Dr K I suspect that the film may be even more offensive!

  • Comment number 15.

    I actually had to see this too, believe it or not.

    I don't remember much of the actual movie. I just remember waking up from a blackout two hours later under a small mountain of regurgitated snack foods, abandoned fat jeans and used maxi pads, the shrill rings of smug self-satisfaction still echoing in my ears.
    Last I heard the mob of liberated housewives was still surging its way through the Midwest like a plague of locusts, eating and vomiting up anything that lay in its path, shrieking manufactured truisms nonstop. Entire cities lay in ruin under lakes of bile now, the survivors left permanently deaf - we see pictures of them on the news every night, the staggering dead-eyed zombies, blood oozing out of their ears. The enlightened horde is gaining momentum every day, we hear, as more discover the blissful freedom that only a wealthy white woman gratifying herself publicly can bestow upon us unwashed masses.

    I went with my sister. I'm really annoyed at how much the women around here have bought into this. Why couldn't this chick just have bought herself a Bugatti in her time of crisis like all of the other rich idiots?

  • Comment number 16.

    What a funny stilted voice you had there. It was mesmerising.

  • Comment number 17.

    Can't the title be changed to: 'Pay Watch Hate'?
    No commas separating the words either in either the film or book's title (at least Mark puts them back in); presumably the author - gorged on culinary delights, fabulous sex, wonderful scenery, spiritual overload and a fat book advance - felt she could dispense with them.

    Yet another example of a film promoting enlightenment through selfishness.

    Loving yourself isn't a message that should be dismissed out of hand; but an equally great one is compassion for others; India and Bali both have many people living in conditions of poverty that we in the UK quite simply have no experience of and would find unimaginable; many of these display a great sense of self-worth, combined with both compassion and selflessness for the benefit of their families and neighbours.

    The film Eat Pray Love is based on a book. A better one by far is City of Joy by Dominique Lapierre, set in Calcutta's slums. (Roland Joffe made a not very good film adaptation of it, back in the 1990s.)

  • Comment number 18.

    @Amber re: 15 - thanks for the genuine "Lulz" there :-)

    @ ...erm... "Captain Daddy Puppy" (?) re: 4 - it was on the Daily Show, featuring comedian Lewis Black (I couldn't find the exact video, but here's one of him annihilating American right-wing weirdo Glenn Beck.

  • Comment number 19.

    Loved your review Dr K that stilted sarcastic tone has a mesmerising effect for sure..:-)The minute I saw the trailer for this one I groaned. Much like one of La Roberts earlier offerings ...No dear multi millionaires do not settle down wth down town hookers......and for the poor working class women (and men for that matter) of this country well we have to try our best to discover ourselves on a long weekend in Cornwall.....

  • Comment number 20.

    At the risk of incurring the moderators' wrath, I loved Bill Maher's New Rule last week which states :

    "If you drag your man to Eat Pray Love this summer, he gets to take you to a movie called 'Football J***off Nap'."

    At which point a worryingly pleased Jon Hamm, coming off the back of The Town, declared, "I'm gonna be in that movie."

  • Comment number 21.

    No shoes or socks Mark? That's very Sting-like of you. Maybe you could do your next blog in a winged cod-piece. Or a with a lute. On second thought, scratch the lute. The cloud of steam you'd have to emerge from could warp it.

  • Comment number 22.

    Instead of wasting this week watching horrible Julia Robert's films you should have stayed at the Cambridge Film Festival and done a daily podcast on it like you did for Cannes. Sure, it's often not thought of as one of the more important festivals, but it could have done with some much needed media presence. I think the biggest press interest the festival got was my ex girlfriend doing a brief three day review for the Cambridge University Varsity Paper (and she spend most of the time avoiding my borderline stalker tactics to try and get her to talk to me, which I suspect severely hampered her abilities as a journalist).

    Anyway, next year stay at the Picturehouse for a week so as to avoid the dreary late summer/early autumn offerings at regular cinemas.

  • Comment number 23.

    oh how you bleed for us!

  • Comment number 24.

    When I read that intro I became seriously concerned that you were suffering from some form of mental disease!

    I think that the only message in this film is that in a post-feminist world Hollywood is incapable of making films for real women.

  • Comment number 25.

    A female friend of mine (SATC 2 fan), came out and text me ‘Really really enjoyed it. Some really good thoughts and scenery. Showed how to keep life simple’.

    I then saw the good Dr’s recent posting, laughed and the forwarded it to her via email.

    Her response...

    ‘Yet again so predictable. The whole point is that no matter how much money or privilege you have in life, all humans can experience and feel the same emotions!!!!

    If only he could look at the premise of the film rather than the easy targets!’

    I certainly won’t be going to see this and judging by everyone else’s comments here it is universally hated.

    Thoughts?

  • Comment number 26.

    @Paul

    "Showed how to keep life simple"???

    All due respect to your friend but total epic lulzfest.

    A practical person would simplify life by maybe finding a new job, making room for some alone time in the afternoon to relax or starting a new hobby. Making new friends. Taking a hot bath, eating more salad. Reading Walden.

    What they WOULDN'T do is quit their job, quit their husband, abandon all responsibilities and shoot off to Italy to eat spaghetti until their hundred dollar designer jeans burst at the seams and then write a book afterward to tell everybody else how to live better while acting like they know entire cultures inside and out because they spent a few months in a foreign country once waving a lot of money around. The ignorance on display in this film is astronomical.

    So no, unless by all humans experiencing and sharing the same emotions your friend meant experiencing and sharing the emotional chords of being stupid and narcissistic, I think we'll have to agree to disagree.

    I think I would have enjoyed Eat Pray Love more if Julia Roberts' role had been recast with the human centipede, honestly. In the meantime, as one of the female Americans that this film was apparently designed for, I'm thinking about maybe simplifying my life by trying to fit my head into the nearest garbage disposal.

  • Comment number 27.

    Thanks for taking one for the team, Dr K. I certainly have no intention of seeing Barf, Bilge, Bonk at all.

    I don't mind a good chick, lit, flick, but this certainly isn't one.

    In the dearth of cinema in Sydney that is school holidays, I stay well away from my local cinemas being overrun my the little darlings.

    So it's a good excuse not to have to see this drivel.

    How about movie about a real woman who saves up to go O/S for a few weeks and the great time she has seeing new places and people. Have to be more interesting by far. And yes, those of us in the real world do have to watch our credit cards when we're on holidays.

  • Comment number 28.

    Forget Julia Roberts holiday snaps, for spiritual uplift I've just seen Terence Davies 'Of Time and the City', Mark is right , it's beautiful but I think 'getting it' is partly a class thing. I'm not from Liverpool, but as a middle aged northern male it was my streets, my aunties and cousins up there on the screen being celebrated and given the status of poetry - it wouldn't move you if you couldn't relate. Sublime.

  • Comment number 29.

    What a classic review. Love it.

  • Comment number 30.

    @Amber_

    Lovely stuff. People like you should be in charge of Hollywood so as to just put more women in good films instead of creating movies 'for' them. Last I looked both men and women enjoyed Toy Story and Inception just as much. We don't care about Woody because it's a uniquely masculine trope to have a bond with your friends - both girlfriends and guy-friends connect to that. And Cobb's key motivation of being separated from his children would move both mothers and fathers (well, leaving aside the issue that the people in Inception are more ciphers than characters, but the parental theme is still fairly relatable). If replacing more male cast members with female ones to balance out the numbers is in the spirit of equality then fine, but the psychology still has to be engrossing in either case.

    The industry really has to stop defining female characters by their gender - I'm not saying you can't ever explore those issues, just that mainstream Hollywood is deeply offensive whenever it does. What's so sad is that the audience numbers legitimise it and the reason, as one person wrote into 5 Live said, is not that anyone can particularly enjoy or relate to the cast of Sex and the City - it's that everyone's just happy to see women helm a movie, that they'll watch any old garbage on offer and delude themselves that it speaks to them.

    From what I can garner Winter's Bone is a good example of a strong lead who just so happens to be female. Everything I've seen so far looks like it has a great central performance but the story or the lead wouldn't drastically change if you had an equally solid male actor at the centre. (You might have to change some of the social barrier stuff about when she meets the 'angry townsfolk' but the point stands.) The short answer is, we need to move into a genuinely post gender age of screenwriting because at the moment we're either defining women as the obligatory alpha male action heroines who hypocritically still lay on the sidelines as eye candy or empty vessels who worry about shoes and relationships because that's what the studio's demographic breakdown said.

  • Comment number 31.

    @TheConciseStatement re: 30:

    Couldn't agree with you more. It used to annoy me that "Gender studies" as a discipline would be almost interchangeable with "Women's Studies" but then when I thought about it, there's only a need for a female-specific academic subject because otherwise (due to continued cultural barriers) it would be crowded out - the same rationale for why, in the literary awards field, the continued existence of the "Orange Prize" appears to be an necessary evil.

    Wouldn't it be nice if "chickflicks" and erm... "guyflicks" (?) (note that there isn't an equivalent term for males!) were just thought of merely as films, instead of being pigeon-holed into a gender-specific box. Perhaps then film criticism could address whether or not a film has merit, as opposed to how it will appeal to you based on your sex.

  • Comment number 32.

    @Amber: without wanting to come across the arch sycophant, once again you had me chortling dumbly to myself in the traditional Internet manner (with nearby people wondering what I'm laughing about). Come on BBC forum bods, get your act together and create a 'recommend post' option to allow us to collectively show our appreciation for good comments!

  • Comment number 33.

    Yes...very amusing review Dr K rather like Peter Bradshaw's
    Sounds like one to avoid at all costs, so your torture is much appreciated.

    This movie is not a chick flick, there is no such thing as a chick flick in my book, just a bad flick. Far better as @TheConciseStatement said to go and see a movie like Winter's Bone which I can honestly say is one of the best movies this year. Scary, real, moving and superbly acted.

    I'm not saying there isn't a place for more lightweight fare but at the very least it have a good script and some kind of realism to it. A good example this kind of movie would be Julie & Julia. Yes it was about a woman "finding herself" but it didn't fall into the sappy/irritating zone. There was an excellent script with some fine acting, especially from Streep and Tucci.
    Come on Hollywood you can do better, don't insult the intelligence of your audience. Just because a book is a bestseller, doesn't mean it will make a good film.

  • Comment number 34.

    Not that anyone gives a monkey's chuff but I actually loathe these so called 'chick flicks' mainly because I find them patronising, mind numbing garbage,that fail to entertain me on any level. Basically leave your brain by the door as you enter the cinema and pick it up on the way out. I can do that in the office every day of the week, and invariably do given the right circumstances.;-) Give me a decent Western for instance,over something like that middle class 'groanfest' Notting Hill any day of the week. I want a film to entertain me, not insult my intelligence.

  • Comment number 35.

    Christ, Kermode! Your feet are MASSIVE!

  • Comment number 36.

    @TheConciseStatement: Which part of that was concise exactly? ;) But look who's talking, right. Obviously we're in agreement thought and I'm going to resist expounding on the terribleness of this movie and gender troubles any more and try not to overstay the welcome.

    Winter's Bone is terrific; I did an impulsive little jig around the house when I heard Kermode talking it up on the podcast last week. He nailed the thing about the location, there's a genuine, natural authenticity in everything down to the dialogue. I think that's really terrific because there aren't a lot of American films that take any interest in accurately portraying the Midwest - mostly what you see in American films are New York and the West Coast, maybe a little yee-haw Texas if somebody feels like getting a little daring. The more the positive word of mouth gets out on this film, the better.

    @Joel: Oh dear, I'm blushing. You're pretty cool yourself. ;)

  • Comment number 37.

    Oh: by the way, I recently stumbled across a designer line of Eat Pray Love fragrances that you might get a kick out of:

    http://www.stylelist.com/2010/06/25/fresh-to-launch-eat-pray-love-fragrance-and-candle-collection/

    “Fragrance is a big part of my own spiritual journey. I have always been emotionally attached to scent. It is how I organize my own memories, the special moments in my life. With every chapter of Eat, Pray Love, I found myself automatically translating each into a scent,”

    Do you think the "eat" one smells like regurgitated pasta or more like bitter tears and squeezy cheese?

  • Comment number 38.

    All the love for Winter's Bone is good to hear but it was a much more mixed reception on The Review Show where it was charged with being 'Poverty Porn'. The most annoying thing though is that with BBC 2's flagship arts show having moved up to Glasgow, Kermode will probably never be on it again, so he won't be able to defend his picks.

  • Comment number 39.

    I think I'll wait for the 3D version.

  • Comment number 40.

    @38: Aye I can see why they might try that line, although I don't think it's merited in this case. In a sense, all film is exploitation but there has to be a limit; I wonder if they expressed similar sentiments for Andrea Arnold's "Fishtank", or is that more palatable because it's British? I find it difficult to see how the filmmakers could have told the story truthfully without the context of the real poverty there; "tidying up" would have compromised it's authenticity surely?

    I certainly don't think any characters were misrepresented or exploited; even the main antagonists were shown a degree of sympathy or, at least, weren't portrayed in a two-dimensional manner. I suspect perhaps the motivation might be to avoid being seen to overpraise in order to avoid charges of being overly-bourgeois, in a similar way to how "Slumdog Millionaire" was treated critically by some for showing real poverty on screen.

    As for The Review show moving to Glasgow, they seem to manage to get a variety of southern contributors on, including stalwarts like Paul Morley and Natalie Haynes. I mean Glasgow's hardly the north pole is it? (Direct flights from Southampton too!) Maybe Mark operates a "I wouldn't get out of bed for less than X" policy when it comes to this :-) It would be odd if they didn't have at least one specialist film critic on the panel occasionally; who else fits that role?

  • Comment number 41.

    Excellent review Dr. K. Very amusing. A thought occured to me whilst watching the review. Wouldn't this subject matter work much better if it was filmed as a documentary? "A student gets into masses of debt in order to see the world. During his/her journey..." blah blah blah. You see my point.

    This sort of story will simply never work as a movie simply because, as someone who has done a bit of travelling myself, each person's experience of Country X and Culture Y will always be different and a screenwriter would face the impossible task of trying to write something that EVERYONE can relate to. If it was a real documentary following someone for a year, it would be a far more powerful and moving piece of work.

    Hollywood obviously had other ideas.

  • Comment number 42.

    Just wondered what your thoughts on the new Robert Rodrigues film "Machete" are?

    Saw a screening a few days ago and I absolutely loved it.. just for the sheer tongue in cheek nonsense of it all this will an absolute classic!

    De Niro, Segal and even the legend that is Don Johnson back up the main cast very well.

    Nonsense but very very good!

  • Comment number 43.

    I suspect the title of this film is indicative of what the film makers were going for: eat loads of popcorn during the film, pray you'll make it to the end, and then, like being brainwashed in Orwell's 1984, eventually you too will learn to love Big Sister Julia.

  • Comment number 44.

    It is with a huge slice of unpalatable despair rumbling in my tum that I receive notice of another film putting the obvious talents of Miss Roberts to waste. Hippy trippy mumbo jumbo to the fore this film must surely be one to avoid and if visited, surely sick bags must be a requisite as a matter of course.

    I pity all those who will be whisked along with the first date romantic zephyr blowing behind them as they enter the cinema to partake of this slice of cinematic pie.... go see something else please. I beseech you !

  • Comment number 45.

    @Joel:

    Concerning Winter's Bone, that's a very plausible explanation.

    The "porn" descriptor gets tossed around a little too liberally these days. Calling something pornographic is suggesting an item that is tacky and lacking in any substance outside of immediate gratification. Regardless of whether one loves or hates a film, if it is as conscientious and as layered as Winter's Bone is then it simply cannot be labeled as pornography. If Winter's Bone is poverty porn then... what? All films that offer an authentic portrayal of poverty are pornographic? Doesn't add up.

  • Comment number 46.

    I am rather a late comer to this post, as I was initially put off by the (misleadingly) positive note.
    I thought that if the K-Man had been taken in by this sanctimonious rubbish and was going to praise it, then I wanted no part in it. How foolish and untrusting I was!

    However, I feel the evil runs deeper, far deeper, than the surface of this story.
    My problem is this: self-realisation. I believe it is the biggest con, or rather the biggest exploitation, of our consumerist lifestyle. It is borne of the repulisve attitude of entitlement that every year from the 1950 onwards seems to have been growing and growing like some pustulant sore.
    And it is even more evil now because it is more subtle. No longer are we asked to buy a TV or a car to solve all our problems, no, we buy a LIFESTYLE. And the intangibility paradoxically makes that more profitable.
    Julia Robert's character buys beautiful experiences with her limitless credit and lives the dream.
    True self realisation cannot be bought.
    Not only this, but, like wisdom, it comes from suffering. Not dramatic suffering, just every day life suffering. If we are lucky we learn who we are in our responses to the most testing and difficult things in life,, gaining true inner strength and insight.
    Those things never came out of a holiday brochure.

  • Comment number 47.

    I agree with Dr K. This would be a far more entertaining film: http://twitpic.com/2t1wc0

  • Comment number 48.

    @Amber re: 45 - The critics being talked about are on a BBC arts review show called (imaginatively enough) "The Review Show", which is about as high-brow as they go. I suspect there's an awful lot of "knowing" criticism going on - particularly with the likes of Paul Morley (whom I do admire, oddly), who can be willfully obtuse to the point of self-parody. Dr. K is possibly one of the exceptions, in that at least his views appear to be straight up and honest - rarely does one detect an agenda at work (well, except when it comes to films featuring pirates that is).

    @Spektijim re: 46. Absolutely agree. It's a funny co-incidence that these kinds of people only "find themselves" in picture-postcard locations. I wonder how much self-realisation would be occurring on 6 month sojourn in Norilsk (Siberia), Sumqayit (Azerbaijan), or Mo'ynoq, Uzbekistan?

  • Comment number 49.


    .....Perhaps in Eat, Pray, Love 2, Julia Roberts will eat squirrel in the Ozarks...
    .....keep up the good work old man....

  • Comment number 50.

    Usually when a film adaptation of a book comes out, I try to read the book well ahead of the film's release. Initially what I thought was misfortune, that is the business of my day-to-day life prevented me from accomplishing this task for "Eat Pray Love"

    Boy, I am so glad that I saw THIS movie first – if for no other reason it saved me from hours of having to read the book. I was duped into purchasing this book based on much of the press it received - it was uplifting and life affirming (really?) Anyway spending two hours in the cinema made it worthwhile to save the extra 6 plus hours (probably) longer that it would have taken me to get through this self-indulgent if not slightly condescending story.

  • Comment number 51.

    Well, I really liked the book and I did find it uplifting and to a certain extent inspiring. I can accept the criticisms of it being about a 'woe is me' rich New Yorker but then again most people I know are objectively 'wealthy' (on a global scale), but that doesn't make them emotionally rich or more able to deal with emotional suffering. Why should we respond less to the emotional journey of someone with material wealth than one of material poverty? It's not about the money, that's the point. p.s. in the book when she eats lots she puts on a lot of weight.

  • Comment number 52.

    @Joel_Cooney - Nice to see you're still around, Joely :D

    @Amber_ - "pornographic" is usually used by people trying to find an even more negative way of saying "gratuitous". But how can you make a film about something without depicting it openly and honestly, without resorting to allegory and risking losing the message entirely?

    This film does sound too much like SatC for my liking, with someone buying their way to self-improvement. That has to be a harmful message, especially in the current climate...

  • Comment number 53.

    Sarcasm really is the lowest form of wit.
    It might not be the greatest film ever made but I doubt Kermode is the target audience. I find his condescending attitude vile and think it's about time we had a reviewer that appreciates genres other than horror, sci-fi and testosterone.

  • Comment number 54.

    During the actual Friday review of this hideous film, Simon queried Mark as to whether this obsession with "finding oneself" is exclusively an American "disease", as Simon described it. Maybe it is. I'm going to stick my neck out and say, Brits are far more selfLESS, in that they believe the way to personal happiness is through helping OTHERS. This piece of piffle - unless it's meant to be ironic in which case it's too subtle for me - is entirely about HER and her supposed problems. She uses those quaint little "foreigners" in far off lands (do Americans still use maps with "here be monsters" on them?) to absolve herself of her guilt. In that respect it is from that same rotten, decrepit, morally bankrupt stable from which Sex and the City was excreted.

    Discuss.

  • Comment number 55.

    Jul2:

    That's a little unfair. I have nearly 3 years' worth of movie reviews, and believe me Mark likes far more genres of films than you give him credit for. As he often says, he cannot lie about the way a film makes him feel. He can't get angry if a film doesn't make him angry; he can't like a film if it doesn't appeal to him. He tells it like it is. So he likes New Moon, and Mamma Mia! but hates SATC. That's just how it is. He is the most honest movie reviewer in the business. You either take him, or leave him.

    PS: Mark liked Street Dance 3D, and High School Musical, and you can hardly say those were targeted at his age group or demographic, either.

  • Comment number 56.

    I described the movie to friends as "A bit of a Curate's Egg" (good in parts). The Italian scenes were food porn, the Indian scenes were ok, the Bali scenes creeped me out. Not a movie that's going on my "must buy the DVD" list.

  • Comment number 57.

    I stupidly ignored Mark's review and went to see Tamara Drewe (or Thursday Stew as my friend Loretta guessed during a round of Charades). What a feel-bad film it turned out to be. If Mark is struggling to understand the mentality that gave us this dire offering, can I suggest that it must be someone who thought it would be nice to make a Richard Curtis type film, but failed to take into account their personal anger, cynicism and emotional illiteracy.

    So this time I'm going to take Mark's review on-board and give this one a miss. If, however, it gets remade at some point by Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews, I'll be the first in the queue to see Drink Fe*k Women.

  • Comment number 58.

    @Amber_

    I agree with the opinion that simply examining something up close doesn't necessarily mean you're cynically fetishising it. Indeed 'Eat, Pray, Love' would appear to be much guiltier of that crime : "Oh look at me hanging around with the quaint little foreigners. And sure being pushed into a miserable arranged marriage wouldn't work for me, but what with it being a different culture and all, it definitely seems more like your kind of thing."

    You know it's funny, your issue with the descriptor 'pornography' reminds me when Kermode himself referred to 'sentimentality porn' and I think it was with regard to the film Marley and Me. If I recall correctly, his assessment was fuelled by the view that the, shall we say, terminal ending was a gratuitous tug for the heart strings and Mayo raised a similar objection to his use of the expression that you have. I can't remember what my position on the matter was then. I think I was just blown away by - going on The Good Doctor's synopsis of course - yet another loathsome, insincere vehicle Jennifer Aniston had souped up for us.

  • Comment number 59.

    who was paying her mortgage while she was galavanting all over the world?

  • Comment number 60.

    Your high sarcasm is delightful... and oddly relaxing.

    Perhaps as an antidote to this film's message, someone could suggest a film where someone learns to love him or herself by working to improve the lives of others, a surer method than lazing around indulging oneself.

  • Comment number 61.

    I don't want to to give them ideas but I have a horrible feeling that the next film from Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer will be called Munch Worship Shag.

  • Comment number 62.

    I am so SICK of this tripe being marketed to women. The only women who will be remotely interested in this are wealthy,fit,extrovert women in huge houses longing for meaning that won't involve much more than eating and having sex with hot brazillians. I'm a poor, introvert, overweight woman. To top that off I'm suffering from a plethora of mental problems.

    I'm really not able to spend much more than the equivalent of 400 pounds on any trip I take, I can't speak intimately to random people, and I really shouldn't be eating everything I can get my hands on. As for hot brasillians suddenly popping up out of nowhere? I won't hold my breath.Oh and I'm a christian, not a pop-buddhist. Who are these perfect women in chick-flicks? Only one answer fits: ALIENS.

  • Comment number 63.

    Some films you just instinctively know are going to be total cobblers. It's Newton's Law of Film: in the year we had the dark fireball of Inception, we also had to have a seriously trite equivalent in order to maintain Hollywood's equilibrium of mediocrity. 'Sentimentality Porn?' Says it all.

    To be honest, something like Eat, Pray, Love - or Knight & Day, SATC2, The Back-Up Plan or anything else from yet another annual tsunami of mass-market stateside dreck - wouldn't be worth anything more than a shrug and a careful sidestep. But because Chris Nolan continues to take a hefty pick-axe to the notion that vapidity = good box office, the excuses for such a high incidence of eye-rolling, star-vehicle cr@p are running short.

    Our ideas, their money - so true, it's painful.

  • Comment number 64.

    All scathing reviews should now be done with bare feet. It adds real gravitas to the slagging. huuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmmm.

  • Comment number 65.

    Perhaps you should write about a film you have seen!

 

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