Julia Roberts in "Eat Pray Love"

On August 13th, another popular literary bestseller turns to the big screen. Namely, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love, starring America’s sweetheart, Julia Roberts, and directed by Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy. The book has been a New York Times’ bestseller and was included in Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club. Detailing the trials and tribulations of a woman decimated by divorce, it follows Gilbert’s own footsteps as she travels abroad to Italy, India, and Indonesia in search of good food, a playful boyfriend, and a mystical guru to achieve personal enlightenment. With self deprecating humor and whimsy, one could easily call it Sex and the City meets Under the Tuscan Sun.

While Eat Pray Love was well received upon its debut in 2006, over the past few years, it has received a fair share of criticism. New York Post critic, Maureen Callahan, called it “narcissistic New Age reading” and “the worst in Western fetishization of Eastern thought and culture.” Book critic, Lizzie Skurnick used the words “disastrous” and “cloying.” And others have described it as “too fake, too willed, and too self-conscious.” New York Times’ Magazine columnist, Rolf Potts, even went so far as to compare it to the female version of 1950’s adventure porn, “passively exploring frivolous pleasures while awaiting the all important, happy ending.”

 

As with any pop culture phenomenon, good or bad, parody steps in. Just last year, comedy writer Andrew Gottlieb published a retort to Gilbert’s memoirs called Drink Play F@#k, a ridiculous romp that mimics Eat Pray Love’s original premise, only from a man’s point of view. The book follows the exploits of Bob Sullivan, coming off a bitter divorce, and his attempt to rediscover passion and pleasure by going on a drinking binge across Ireland, falling prey to a gambling addiction in Las Vegas, and exploring the hedonistic joy in Thailand with a plethora of Bangkok hookers. It’s the kind of story that has Judd Apatow written all over – lewd, crude, and full of attitude.

And so, it should come as no surprise that Drink Play F@#k was recently and surreptitiously picked up by Warner Brothers for adaptation in 2014.

Both books and films are sure to find an audience. Whether you’re a fan of chick flicks, schmaltz, and uplifting, self empowerment or you like raunchy, male adolescent driven comedy, for guys and gals alike, these are overindulgent, guilty pleasures. Great beach reading and cinematic escapism at their very best.

-Mark Sells, “The Reel Deal”

This Week’s Picks:

  • The Other Guys – Either you love Will Ferrell or you don’t. If you do, you’re in for a treat as writer/director Adam McKay (Anchorman, Talladega Nights) reinvigorates the buddy cop genre with a slapstick comedy about New York’s less than finest. With a supporting cast inclusive of Michael Keaton, Eva Mendes, Samuel L. Jackson, Steve Coogan, and Dwayne Johnson, the film aptly blends comedy and action in a Bernie Madoff type investigation. Although at times, the plot about white collar crime wears thin and the editing lacks crispness, the film attains good natured, goofball status thanks to inspired casting, balancing the outrageous improvisations of Will Ferrell opposite the straight role exaggerations of Mark Wahlberg.
  • Restrepo – If you liked last year’s Best Picture winner, The Hurt Locker, you’ll love this gritty documentary about the soldiers manning an Afghanistan outpost in the heart of the Korangal Valley. Named after a fallen soldier and listed by CNN as “the most dangerous place in the world,” Restrepo is a desolate place akin to hell on earth – unbearably hot in the summer, frigid in the winter, and always under attack from the inconspicuous Taliban. Produced and directed by wartime photographer Tim Hetherington and author Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm), the film depicts real heroism under fire and the camaraderie of a very special band of brothers.

Film Event on the Radar:

Harrison Ford in "Wings Over the Rockies"

Wings Over the Rockies – If you’ve ever wanted to fly or are just looking for a great escape this summer, you owe it to yourself to check out the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. Replete with Century Series fighters, a rare B-18A Bolo, an X-Wing fighter from Star Wars, etc., the museum is filled with spectacular sights. Plus, exhibits covering the science and history of flight. Recently, the museum unveiled a brand new, 80 person theater with HD and Dolby Surround Sound. And released its first film, Wings Over the Rockies, about the joys of flying over the Rocky Mountains. Featuring breathtaking scenery of the Colorado Rockies and starring the legendary actor and aviation enthusiast, Harrison Ford, the film is a must see for one and all. Shown every half hour during museum hours.

Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum

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