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With: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina, Linda Emond, Helen Carey, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Jane Lynch, Joan Juliet Buck, Crystal Noelle, George Bartenieff, Vanessa Ferlito, Casey Wilson, Jillian Bach, Andrew Garman
Written by: Nora Ephron, based on a book by Julie Powell, and on a book by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme
Directed by: Nora Ephron
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language and some sensuality
Running Time: 123
Date: 07/30/2009

Julie & Julia (2009)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Duck Seasoning

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Nora Ephron's loving tribute to Julia Child is considerably more refreshing than the usual biopic, and in the role Meryl Streep hits a grand slam without even breaking a sweat. But the movie switches back and forth from Child's story -- set in Paris in the 1950s -- to the story of Julie Powell (Amy Adams), who in 2002 famously started a blog about cooking everything in Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year's time. Though the format allows Ephron to avoid most of the usual biopic clich├ęs, the writer/director also never really draws an emotional or thematic thread between the two stories, and there's no real payoff. Moreover, both stories are mainly based around the act of writing -- Child writing and publishing her cookbook and Powell blogging -- and the film rarely becomes very visual or dynamic. Additionally, both women are in happy marriages, Child with her husband Paul (Stanley Tucci) and Powell with her husband Eric (Chris Messina), and so Ephron cooks up turgid little subplots and melodramas to try and make these supporters more interesting, but her efforts waste time and turn soggy. All this aside, Julie & Julia does have some euphoric moments centered around food and cooking, and both Adams and Streep are very much worth watching.

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