Eat, Pray, Love director Ryan Murphy isn’t afraid to hype his product. He recently stated in a press conference that an eating scene in the new Julia Roberts flick “is one of the most controversial scenes ever caught on film.” Murphy goes on to say that due to cultural guilt about food “having a scene where a woman eats with unabashed joy is amazing and lovely.”
Lovely to Murphy, maybe. Roger Ebert wasn’t impressed:
In Italy, [Roberts's character] eats such Pavarottian plates of pasta that I hope one of the things she prayed for in India was deliverance from the sin of gluttony. At one trattoria she apparently orders the entire menu, and I am not making this up.
Ebert sounds like he was grossed out, not scandalized. He finishes his review with some subtle stings, calling the movie “shameless wish-fulfillment, a Harlequin novel crossed with a mystic travelogue.” Eat, Pray Love, says Ebert, “mercifully reverses the life chronology of many people, which is Love Pray Eat.”
The ultimate verdict on any controversy in the movie will, as always, be at the box office – and perhaps in upticks in business at your local Olive Garden.