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Even Frances Bergen who plays a type of baffled sane matriarch looks as if she has had her problems with food in the past but in this movie she is astonished at the obsessive compulsive behaviour around food at this party she attends for her daughter's fortieth birthday.
Maybe she doesn't get out much in the shallow body-and-youth culture that is California. I would say that Henry was deliberate in keeping this movie without any depth. He just stockpiled it with far too many women (I lost track, they all looked vaguely alike and whined in the same sad key).
Go read a book, ladies, visit an art gallery, recite poetry, read for the blind. Far too much time on your hands. Get interesting. Maybe that was the point?
7 out of 10 for its daring - though it had to be a flop at the box-office.
Unfortunately, these moments are scattered randomly in a movie that's 110 minutes long, and the remaining 80 minutes leave a lot to be desired, with stilted, rushed dialog that almost seems like it's being read from cue cards, characters who come and go so quickly that even when what they say touches you, no lasting sense of connection is forged.
The big issue is the structure itself: 'Martine' is shooting a documentary about the relationship between women and food at her friend's birthday party, giving the characters a chance to deliver monologues straight to the camera that are often fascinating, even riveting. But there are too many people, too many words, too much going on between the characters outside what the documentary camera sees. This could easily have been addressed by giving Martine an assistant, someone to actually work the camera and spy on the party's goings on when Martine is elsewhere. But without that convention, we are often uncertain what is documentary and what is 'real' life.
There is so much here that doesn't matter-- why a triple birthday, for women turning 30, 40 and 50 when the issues of age and aging are largely in the back ground? Why so many people? Why so many conflicts and love stories when the central love affair between women and food is far more interesting than any of the interpersonal stuff?
Several fine performances here-- notably Frances Bergen and Beth Grant, though Mary Crosby at her radiant best is given little to do.
Worth seeing for the 30 good minutes, but sadly disappointing in so many ways... ultimately, it's a man putting words in women's mouths about what it's like to be a woman, and it's certainly not a comedy. I hope a woman film maker chooses to make the actual documentary at the center of this movie-- that's a film I'd love to see.
Jagblom had his cast improvise most of the material, with a rough scripted story structure. Sometimes this works; here, it's a dismal failure.
The riffing about weight gets old fast, and is laughably preposterous to anyone who isn't an LA actress (i.e., most of his cast). Jagblom's "woman-sensitive" directing is almost immediately exposed as lecherous posturing, as his beautiful star is trotted out topless for no reason within the first 15 mins. Nice rack, Henry, but what about the movie?!?
Worst of all, it's just horribly boring. None of the characters seem worth following, and the film does a terrible job focusing on a few so you can get a toehold on some drama. For comparison, I enjoy female-friendly films like "Mystic Pizza," "Moonstruck" and "Clueless." I love foreign films. I would've walked out on "Eating", but sadly it was a rental.
Central conflict? Woman vs. pastry. Cinematography? Bland and undistinguished. Best use for Eating? Doorstop.