by Ian Froeb
It was the best of movies. It was the worst of movies. Which is to say: There's half of a great movie in Julie & Julia -- but since Meryl Streep has already starred in one titled Julia (Fred Zinnemann's penultimate feature in 1977), perhaps it was merely necessary to tack on the "Julie" half to distinguish Nora Ephron's butter-basted effort from its Lillian Hellman's mayonnaise-covered predecessor. (Sorry. So sorry.) If nothing else, that tortured introduction reveals which half is the great half -- the one featuring Streep as Julia Child, but of course, and not the Smithsonian-enshrined, encased-in-amber, forever-in-reruns Julia Child, either, but the toweringly lean and tremendously lustful Julia Child, new to France in the late 1940s and ready to devour everything in sight, even her husband, Paul (Stanley Tucci).