Meryl Streep and Amy Adams are receiving mostly rave notices from critics for their performances in Julie & Julia , even though the script, by Nora Ephron, who also directed, is not to everyone's taste. It switches between the lives of the real-life Julie Powell, determined to prepare every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 365 days, and Childs herself. "The performances go a long way toward selling the characters," writes Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times. "Streep plays Julia Child to perfection," says Claudia Puig in USA Today . "Adams is a consistently engaging actress." Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times has additional praise for Adams. "Though a bit overshadowed by Streep (who isn't?), the gifted Adams is essential in making this two-part story work," he remarks. Of Streep's performance, A.O. Scott remarks in the New York Times "By now this actress has exhausted every superlative that exists and to suggest that she has outdone herself is only to say that she's done it again." But he says that while Adams "is a lovely and subtle performer ... she is overmatched by her co-star and handicapped by the material." And Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal suggests that what is wrong with the material is telegraphed by the ampersand in the title. It becomes, he says, "a sort of linguistic duct tape holding together two stories that never really function as one." In particular, critics find the "Julie" story wanting. It "seems slightly trivial," Rafer Guzmán comments in Newsday . "Just about everything in the Julie Powell section feels forced and grating," adds Christopher Kelly in the Dallas Morning News .

07/08/2009