The film is all about the parallels between the lives of Child and Powell. As Julia moves to France because of her Communist husband Paul’s (Stanley Tucci) job, Julie moves into a small apartment in Queens near her husband Eric’s (Chris Messina) office. Both of the women are not in good job situations: Julia is stuck with what to do, and Julie is in a boring, white-collar job. As you may guess, both start to get some happiness from cooking: Julia becomes a chef, and Julie starts making Child’s dishes. There should be much, much more time spent on Julia Child than on Julie Powell, at least if the stories are going to be told the way they are, because whenever the movie jumps forward in time, there’s a lessening in the quality. Ephron seems to not care about stumbling into many clichés when delving into Powell, and she also doesn’t mind falling into suit among other mainstream romantic comedies on this front. It doesn’t help when Adams and Messina (whose performance in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” I said to be “one of the non-romantic joys of the film”) are lukewarm and stilted. The usage of Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” in this part of the film is sad and lame. Plus, if the biggest laugh in your subdivision is from Dan Ackroyd's impression of Julia (yes, that's also in this movie, and what we get is not only him but the reactions of the two modern-day cookers, which provides for an awkward, tepid feeling), you know things are not going too well.
Another element I thought sorry was how under-nourished Streep’s performance was. I mean if she does get nominated for an Oscar, it would only be fair for Best Supporting Actress. She’s given not very much space and time with Ephron’s objective, every-scene-has-a-clear-purpose style to spin a good Child. In a feature-length biopic, she would shine brighter and clearer. Here, she’s bogged down by her counterpart.
Well, I don’t think my review is going to influence your choice of film. You’ll probably have decided whether or not you want to go. But if you’re on the fence, there are better films to see in terms of parallels (“Sita Sings the Blues”) and mainstream romantic comedies (“Duplicity”). When it comes to food films, this is only one in really wide circulation at the moment. I know there’s definitely an audience for it, and a big one at that. I’m not part of it, however. But there is something to be said for the fact that with choices like "Inglourious Basterds" and "Halloween II" available, this film gives off somewhat of a feeling of warmness and good intent. When I left packed theater, almost everyone was talking about dinner. This is how films are supposed to inspire, and I'm glad that "Julie & Julie," no matter how good I think it is, is at that plateau. C