Conventional wisdom says that women this weekend will flock to the Julia Roberts vehicle "Eat Pray Love," about a divorcee on a journey of self-discovery. But it's the men who really need to see this movie.

That's because in movies, as in life, there is no shortage of men who ditch their responsibilities to go "find themselves." They dump wives, date teenagers and live out freewheeling fantasies. They're in Blake Edwards' "10," in Woody Allen's entire output (well, almost) and even in "Shrek Forever After" (talk about a male ogre).

What we rarely see is a portrait of female midlife crisis. Here it is, in "Eat Pray Love," and it's no prettier. Based on Elizabeth Gilbert's bestselling self-help foodie travel-memoir - a marketing shotgun blast that covered all the major book-buying demographics - the film puts Roberts, as Gilbert, in a typically male role: overly ambitious, overly successful, overly loved by her husband, Stephen (Billy Crudup, providing the film's most honest performance).

Stephen will become the all-too-loyal spouse who gets jettisoned so the writer can live the life she'll be famous for. She dates a too-young actor (James Franco), then gets a better idea: Travel to Italy, India and Bali. Director and co-writer Ryan Murphy ("Glee," "Running with Scissors") breathlessly transforms Gilbert from an average tourist into an intrepid explorer as she discovers, seemingly for the first time in history, fresh pasta, Eastern religion and the sensuality of foreign men (Javier Bardem plays the deep-feeling Felipe).

Roberts tries hard to find her character's depths, but this relentlessly shallow film works against her. Still, it's almost refreshing to see a female protagonist this feckless, this self-absorbed. Men, make room in the doghouse.

 

Roberts ate up a storm in 'Eat Pray Love'

The burning question for Oscar-winner Julia Roberts is exactly how many bowls of pasta did she eat in Rome for a dining scene in "Eat Pray Love?" According to Roberts, it was six.

"It was all delicious," says the actress, who doesn't appear to have retained a single ounce of what she might have picked up from her round-the-world, carb-filled moviemaking adventure.

"[Director] Ryan Murphy and [producer] Dede Gardner hired people who would just be in charge of making it look great and taste great," she adds, referring to food stylist Susan Spungen, who previously provided her expertise on the hit film "Julie & Julia."

During production, a fully committed Roberts also devoured eight slices of pizza during a 45-minute span one morning for another scene involving her character indulging in the gastronomic pleasures of Naples.

"In that scene, in particular, I sort of relished just wolfing down the pizza] because I felt like my character was excited to be there, to be eating this pizza," she recalls.

The 42-year-old actress says she was so into her character (Liz, like the author), she downed a slice on each take. -- Entertainment News Wire

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