It's been a few days since I filed my film reviews for ICON, and it's only just now that I realized why I hated The Time Traveler's Wife so much while Julie & Julia was such a gem.
In the latter film, director/writer Nora Ephron took great pains to establish the human side of her characters. Ephron's problem over the years is that she's been so love in with a concept that'she's completely forgotten about people...Julie & Julia is the first movie from her in nearly two decades where her main characters are people you care about, who you root for.
Also, Amy Adams is good, while Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci are terrific.
All too often the people who make romance-flavored films think that offering visual and audio cues will be enough to grab our attention. (Ephron did this for years; Made of Honor was the worst movie of 2008 for that very reason. God, that was a demeaning, demoralizing affair.) That's the reason why The Time Traveler's Wife fails from the start, because all we get our prompts--star-crossed lovers, death, miscarriages, somber speeches about commitment, cute children--without a reason to care. That makes for a good trailer but a terrible movie.
Also, Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana have the chemistry of a couple on an awkward first date at Hoolihan's. The only way it could have been worse was if McAdams kept looking at her watch, repeatedly reminding him that she has to be home by 10. Or if he flirted with their 17-year-old waitress the entire time.
Actually, that's a scene from a movie I'd watch. You think we can get them to reunite?