"two hours of bad dialog, shallow character development and a heroine who is self absorbed"
I admit, I'm a sucker for a good chick-flick and "Eat Pray Love" looked as if it would fill the bill. The autobiographical book by the same title was endorsed by Oprah's book of the month club and that alone helps to secure healthy box office receipts. The clincher that casts Julia Roberts in the title role of Liz Gilbert further assures a successful opening weekend at the box office but she completely spoilt the believability of the film for me. Unfortunately it delivered over two hours of bad dialog, shallow character development and a heroine who is self absorbed, shellfish and clueless with the world around her. Roberts makes the character stiff, rigid, protected and impossible to care about. She made a few film when young - "Pretty Woman" and "Steel Magnolia" come to mind - in which she allowed herself to be vulnerable but I've not seen her be vulnerable since.
I was pleased with the cinematography, and loved the travelogue aspect of the film, especially the Bali segment, mainly due to the chemistry between the medicine man and Liz and more importantly, the chemistry between Liz and Felipe. Javier Bardem was incredibly appealing as Felipe. The other actors and actresses in the film were good. I enjoyed Viola Davis, Richard Jenkins and Tuva Novotny (who played Sofi, the Swedish woman). They all grabbed my attention far more than Julia Roberts' tiring laugh.
I will never understand the constant complaints of "the film isn't like the book", the book did this and that and so on and so on - so why do Hollywood keep making films that don't live up to the book. If they can't, then just don't. I'm confident that any food or travel channel will likely rejoice at the visual pleasures in this film (as I did). The rest of us will have to make do with Julia in her prime. I left the cinema feeling not merely disappointed but a little depressed.