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Editor: D. A. Jeremy Telman
Valparaiso Univ. Law School

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Inability to Suspend Disbelief about "Julie and Julia"

Amy_Adams_(actress)At left, we have Amy Adams as she first entered my consciousness.  It is an image that I will not willingly relinquish.  But now, a new Amy Adams, the Amy Adams of the profoundly disappointing Julie and Julia endeavors to displace her.  How could this have happened?  How could a movie about a blogger be boring?!?  In part, I think the problem is that the story of Amy Adams' blog just is not believable in the movie -- perhaps it is more so in the book.  I blame Nora Ephron, whose aptitude for character development lags well behind her talent for caricature development.

Amy Adams' character, Julie, is driven to the blog by her narcissistic, careerist sisters who only turn off their cell phones long enough to announce their latest triumphs and to condescend to Julie, who works in a cubicle.  Of course, this aspect of the film is already dated.  Today, they would be texting.  Julie's unsupportive mother is really Woody Allen's mother.  She reads Julie's blog just so that she can post comments about what a waste of time it is.  The fact that the mother reads and comments on the blog is something of a surprise, since the first time we hear from the mother she is calling to belittle Julie and seems not to know what a blog is.  Later in the movie, after the New York Times reports on Julie's blog, Julie's mother becomes Ira Glass's mother -- she now recognizes her daughter's virtues because they have been validated by The Old Grey Lady.

But Julie is determined to prepare all of the recipes in Julia Child's cookbook over the course of a year, and she is going to blog about it because, although she enjoys cooking, her real aspiration is to write.  And that's all fine.  I applaud her.  I like the voice of Julie's blog -- why wouldn't I?  It's Amy Adams' voice.  I would read such a blog if I had time to read blogs about French cuisine.

But here is where I rebel.  One day, Julie's blog starts getting comments.  The next thing we know it is one of Salon.com's top blogs and Julie is contemplating setting up a PayPal link so that her readership can support her habit of French cooking.  At the same time, Julie is living in a dumpy apartment in Queens, Queens!!!  She has no contacts in the media world and she does not even seem to know how many page views her blog is getting.  Sorry, but no.  

I am perfectly willing to believe the world is full of brilliant teams of arch-villains who conspire to take over or destroy the world and that Bruce Willis/Kiefer Sutherland/Jackie Chan/Will Smith can single-handedly save both our lives and our souls.  I don't know anything about criminal masterminds or about being an action hero, so such plots seem perfectly plausible to me.  But I know blogging and I ain't buying what Julie and Julia is selling.  I find Enchanted's Giselle a much more believable character than Julie and Julia's Julie.  

Amy Adams, it's time to stop slumming with that phony baloney, Meryl Streep.  Just be the princess you were always meant to be.

[Jeremy Telman]

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Comments

The book, based upon the blog, is even worse. Someone passed it along to me and I thought they did so as a joke. Really unbearable. At least the movie provides pretty images of food and Paris.

Posted by: Meredith | Feb 8, 2010 7:48:30 AM

Is this serious? Am I missing the link to Contract Law? Is this your personal blog or a blog supposedly representative of the AALS Section on Contracts?

Posted by: Jason | Feb 8, 2010 4:41:34 PM

Sorry, Jason. Slow contracts news day.

Posted by: Jeremy Telman | Feb 8, 2010 5:33:12 PM

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