One of the segments in Julia Roberts’ Eat, Pray, Love covers protagonist Elizabeth Gilbert’s trip to Rome, in which she eats until she barfs a lot to help her become a more self-actualized New York intellectual. A segment Lindy West described as:
There are only three kinds of people in Rome: old Italian ladies stuffed with wisdom like wrinkly brown manicottis, sexy young ladies who do nothing but eat figs sensually with a knife and fork, and really really hot dudes. Opera music plays while Julia Roberts shovels spaghetti into her orgasm face. Julia Roberts buys “big lady jeans” so she can fit more pizza in there. “Let me teach YOU a word,” says Julia Roberts to her really really hot Italian tutor. She holds up a carafe of wine. “THERAPIST.” Har har.
The film opens in Italy this week, and strangely, some Italians have objected to being portrayed as a collection of half-assed outdated stereotypes. In fact, an exclusive source tells me one man walking by the premiere in a speedo was so upset that he grabbed his crotch and made kissing sounds.
“The only thing missing in Julia’s Rome is the mandolin,” the daily La Repubblica wrote on Saturday.
“It rains spaghetti, the Italians are always gesticulating and following foreign girls shouting vulgarities but then getting engaged to a nice housewife to please their domineering mothers, all this under the sign of ‘dolce far niente’,” La Repubblica’s critic Curzio Maltese wrote.
The Turin daily La Stampa damned the film, as “kitsch” regretting that the Italian actors in the cast were left drawing on retro images of Italy from the 1950s. “That’s the way they like us in the United States, dark, boisterous, uninhibited; we’ve always known that, but this time the effect is beyond the limits.”
Il Messagero said it was not particularly bothered by the cliched portrayal of invasive mothers, nosy landladies and pleasure-loving Italians but it was offended by Roberts’ Spanish co-star Javier Bardem.
“Watching the glorious Bardem playing the Latin lover in a film like this really hurts,” it said. [Reuters]
Added Il Messagero, “Why for you-a cast-a de Spaniardo when I gotta so many-a single a-grandson? I slappa you face. GUISEPPE! Come-a meet-a de nice-a girl! And bring-a de bucket for to catch-a de Spaghetti!”