Reviewed May 04, 2012
Chick flick or no, there can always be a place in my heart for a film about cooking food, eating food, loving food. If the food is the star and the film captures the sensual relationship between man/woman/child and plate it can be an incredibly rich viewing experience. Unfortunately this was so overloaded with saccharine sweetness (aha) I found it hard to stomach (a-ho-ho).
I've always liked Amy Adams. Enchanted and the Muppets were not so twee that her sugary presence overwhelmed them (a situation also helped by her comic timing). And in Doubt she is the perfect, innocent foil to Streep's hard-nosed, imposing Sister. But in this guff her presence is like sweetening sugar with sugar.
The film's other timeline, with Streep as American cookery legend Julia Child (whose recipes Julie is cooking) has its charms. But no matter how note-perfect Streep's Child impression (I wouldn't know, I'm more a Nigel Slater kind of dude) it's basically Streep in make-up, squawking incessantly at innocent French passers-by. Like I said, not without its charms but not without its severe irritations.
In the end, does Julie manage to cook every recipe in Childs' book? Yes, of course she bloody does. Does the film succeed in making you care? Sadly, I wanted her to accidentally set fire to her kitchen and burn down the whole of Queens. Or stab herself in the arm while trying to bone a duck.