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Julia Roberts finds her inner balance in Eat Pray Love

It is what it is, goes the cliché. And given that this is an adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling New Age chick-lit memoir starring Julia Roberts, it’s about as good as could reasonably be expected. Faithful to Gilbert’s intelligent confessional prose, Eat Pray Love finds our materially successful but spiritually empty N.Y.C. writer/heroine ditching her unfulfilling marriage and passionate rebound affair to undertake a yearlong odyssey living abroad and alone to find her “balance” via food (in Italy), ashram meditation (India), and true love (Bali). If you can avoid the fact that it all adds up to a story about a chic Manhattan woman who learns to reconcile her flaws only after she realizes that she is indeed the center of the universe, you’ll discover a sweet, well-acted armchair travelogue and treatise about inner forgiveness. The movie features the considerable virtue of being tooled for grownups during a summer season usually reserved for superheroes, buddy cops, and bad guys. It’s all good here.

More by Charles Cassady

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