Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Bon appétit!"

I wish I'd had a camera with me to capture the spirited, and even the gory, impersonations delivered at the Alamo Drafthouse's Julia Child lookalike contest tonight. Before an early (and free!) screening of "Julie and Julia," one guy bounded down from his seat — frilly apron and all — to warble about bashing a chicken against a wall and drinking its blood. "And save the giblets — the giblets!"

But the burly guards and airport-level security at these pre-release showings ensure that no devices are sneaked inside to record such moments. Oh, or the movie.

In the film, the stories of two butter devotees run closely parallel, down to their identical Flame Le Creuset pots. Amy Adams is adorable as blogger and former Austinite Julie Powell, and Meryl Streep is winningly expressive as the woman who translated French cooking for Americans. But you could have guessed that. Maybe I can do better: There's McCarthyism, a great use of a Talking Heads song in the soundtrack and a cameo by former New York Times editor Amanda Hesser (who was my favorite part of the last Texas Book Festival).

So maybe those aren't the juiciest spoilers. But it's a well designed, at times subtle and very satisfying movie. I'll pay to be charmed by it again. And I found it's best seen with a friend who will whisper that she prefers dutch ovens in Dune, one who will run through the rain to get there and another who'll remark about Meryl's striped dresses. Plus one more who will fearlessly take the spotlight in competition to imitate Julia, then aim to use all of her $25 Whole Foods gift card winnings on gelato.