Every now and then a movie or TV show comes around that every fashion or beauty product or girly liquor wants to align itself with. In the weeks and months leading up to the premiere, desperate press releases pegging aimless brands to these films and television shows assault the in-boxes of fashion editors and writers. Eat Pray Love is, bafflingly, one such film. Julia Roberts prances around the whole time looking good, obviously, in a consistent uniform of J.Crew proper, but the most remarkable aspects of her appearance are her famous lips and always perfectly blended eye makeup — filthy environs of the ashram be damned. The biggest fashion statement the movie tries to make is that women should embrace the extra flesh that may come with indulging in delicious food. Too bad this feels about as authentic as when fashion insists that curves are “in.”
In the scene where Roberts and her friend, played by Tuva Novotny, go to Naples to each eat whole pizzas, Novotny takes a few bites and then stops. She adopts an expression of deep sadness, as though she’s just seen a child get hit by a bus, and says she can’t eat anymore because her pants don’t fit. What should perhaps be a moment of sisterly togetherness in the theater turns downright comical when Roberts tells her she should eat her pizza, because even if she does have muffin top, it won’t stop her from getting laid. Roberts then says something about how she’s gained weight, too, but doesn’t care, and simply plans on buying bigger pants when she finishes her pizza. Then we get a montage of the women in the fitting room struggling to button their pants and squealing with delight at this, even though this never ever happens in real life, where changing rooms are just places of self-loathing. Women don’t gain weight in their midsections and then roll around the floor in fits of laughter, overjoyed with their independent way of doing things and disregard for the caloric content of what they consume.
But what makes the scene so absurd is that if Roberts and her friend even needed new pants, it was probably a size 4 up from a size 2, because both look quite thin throughout their roles. In the Eat Pray Love book, Elizabeth Gilbert gains a bunch of weight in Italy, but Roberts didn’t bother with that for this film. But maybe this diatribe about muffin top being okay will resonate with some women. Too many fashion people are certainly hoping for this movie to have a stylistic — if not spiritual — impact.
Related: Road to Myself [NYM]