Eat Pray Love [Blu-Ray] Ryan Murphy

Eat Pray Love [Blu-Ray] Ryan Murphy
Prior to reading the book or watching the movie, my thoughts on Eat Pray Love were similar to those I had when middle-aged women would prattle on about the brilliance of The Secret. Actress Viola Davis reiterates this sentiment quite succinctly in the "Journey Begins" supplement included with the Blu-Ray, stating that there is something arrogant and dishonest about the spiritual journey book. While I can't say that Elizabeth Gilbert's ode to the undiscerning seeking enlightenment by appropriating pre-packaged notions of other cultures changed my mind completely, I can see why it would appeal to a broad audience. Amongst the twee observations about consumption, body image and meditation there is a tinge of sincerity, which is captured in Ryan Murphy's clumsy, desultory adaptation, if nothing else. Starting out with the banner realization that the communal notion of success and happiness through showy domesticity is fatuous, this travelogue follows Liz (Julia Roberts) as she leaves flaky husband Stephen (Billy Crudup), bangs pretentious younger actor David (James Franco) and sets out to Italy to find herself. While there she makes some friends, eats some pasta and decides that spirituality is the next task, running off to a third world country to meditate in crowded rooms and listen to Richard from Texas (Richard Jenkins) express his inner harmony by making backhanded, judgmental comments about Liz's differing values. There are many scenes of Roberts enjoying a meal, or a landscape, or walking through streets, which is apropos but exceedingly lacklustre. Ryan Murphy has a knack for television, creating shows like Glee, Nip/Tuck and Popular. But when it comes to making movies, he doesn't see the bigger cinematic picture, leaving most of the composition flat and empty, with no added subtext or stylistic trajectory, aside from unflattering backlighting and unwarranted low angle shots. Resultantly, there is nothing going on in each individual shot aside from character action, making for dull, slow viewing. More problematic is the fact that every single secondary character, regardless of language spoken, geography or economic background, has the same knack for delivering corny, on-the-nose one-liners that exit their mouths only to linger in the void of flat, dramatic direction. The film's tone wants to be spiritual and uplifting, but winds up more like sub par James L. Brooks. What's more is that this goes on for two-and-a-half hours, with a main character popping up at the hour-and-50-minute mark. The supplement included on Ryan Murphy details his clear passion for the project, which makes the overwhelming failure of the film disappointing and sad, while the decision to include the director's cut of the film only exacerbates the dead air and unutilized space. Also included are mini-featurettes on meditation and so on. (Sony)