Last Friday at 6:05pm sharp, Deadspin editor A.J. Daulerio — an unabashed fan of chick flicks and rom-coms — walked into a theater to see Eat Pray Love. This is what he saw.
I have an odd, unhealthy obsession with rom-coms, especially for a hetero male, but my day job requires me to compartmentalize feelings like empathy, wistfulness, and joy, so these movies fill that void. My history with these movies dates back to 1996, when I spent the early days post-college in a Sea Isle City, N.J., alone in a shore house with She's Come Undone. That's when I grew my phantom vagina.
I've seen plenty of rom-com movies and, believe me, I was sooo excited when the early previews for EPL came out. No, I didn't read the book, but I'd read enough about the book to know that this movie should be the heroin for my nagging rom-com fix. As most of us now know, though, EPL didn't come close to living up to these expectations, box office or otherwise.
NOT ENOUGH RAIN SEX.
This is a staple of any good Nicholas Sparks novel-turned-movie: star-crossed couple gives in to their primal urges and they have slippery grabby-thigh make-outs in a torrential downpour. Instead we get Javier Bardem sauntering over to Julia Roberts while she's sipping a glass of wine, contentedly reading a book, cooing, "It's time." That's not hot — that's a goddamn Cialis commercial. You're telling me it doesn't rain in Bali? They have a Wet Season for Christ's sake. Plus, everyone watching the movie waited what felt like 15 hours for these two to bang. Have Julia Roberts take a walk outside, contemplate life again, let the skies open up and then let the ten-years-celibate (really?) Javier Bardem rip off her soaking wet skirt in a pontoon boat.
BILLY CRUDUP IS TOO NICE.
Billy Crudup's character in most rom-coms is the guy who usually wins these romantic battles. Yeah, points for flipping the script on us here, but Crudup's role lacked any real flaws, besides having an aimless career and the fact that he gets anxious when he holds black babies during a cocktail party. I mean, at least show us he has a temper when he drinks or always forgets to fill the Brita or something for me to support the decision for Gilbert/Roberts to end this marriage.
TOO MUCH EDDIE VEDDER.
Not one, but TWO Eddie Vedder songs. I thought Van Morrison was the go-to music choice for 30-something women during convalescence post-bad breakup? And, seriously, they used "The Long Road." Doesn't anyone remember that this song was written specifically for "Dead Man Walking"? So instead of this song being a thoughtful dirge for a death row inmate seeking forgiveness and spiritual enlightenment, it's supposed to be an anthem for maddeningly selfish women who go on extended yoga retreats. Yeah, fuck that.
THIS MOVIE WAS MADE FOR YOU TO HIGH-FIVE YOUR MOM.
Of course this movie would pander to the Oprah-watching masses, but this was just too much. It's okay to spoil yourself and eat ten bowls of pasta and not fit into your jeans! Go have an affair with a brooding young actor who touches you in that funny spot! Look it's shaggy Javier Bardem driving a jeep! You can solve all your problems by sitting on the floor for an extended period of time! LOOK IT'S SHAGGY JAVIER BARDEM DRIVING A JEEP! After the movie was over, I wouldn't have been surprised if I reached under the seat and found the keys to a Prius and the full DVD collection of "Planet Earth."
So you failed me, EPL. I can only hope that Going The Distance makes me whole again.