Julie & Julia (12A)

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The Independent Culture

Nora Ephron's movie is a salute to Julia Child, "the woman who taught America how to cook", and, in Meryl Streep's impersonation of her, a relentlessly jolly person whose sing-song twitter became a staple of American TV in the Sixties.

Child's story of living in Paris with her uxorious husband (Stanley Tucci) and compiling a cookbook that took eight years to finish is set against the modern story of a young housewife (Amy Adams) in Queens, NY, who writes a blog about cooking every one of Child's recipes in a year. The movie is not objectionable – it's very affectionate, and has a light comic tone – but it is insufferable. Ephron seems to believe that that shots of people talking and eating at the same time are intrinsically entertaining. They're not. Streep gets by on eccentricity, but the Adams character is your average nervy egomaniac whose idea of a crisis is a cancelled dinner party or spilling a boeuf bourguignon. Tweeness and whimsy eclipse any spark of thoughtfulness. The resulting confection is two hours of drama-less self-congratulation.