‘Julie’ Proves It: Amy Adams Is a ‘Toon

Amy Adams is 100 per cent adorable. That is beyond dispute. We know this instinctively, just as we do when we look at kittens, pandas and penguins. But is she human? I ask because I’m convinced she’s a ‘toon. No, I don’t mean metaphorically. I mean, she really is a cartoon. I believe she has […]

Last Updated: August 6, 2009 @ 4:41 PM

Amy Adams is 100 per cent adorable. That is beyond dispute. We know this instinctively, just as we do when we look at kittens, pandas and penguins.

But is she human? I ask because I’m convinced she’s a ‘toon.

No, I don’t mean metaphorically. I mean, she really is a cartoon. I believe she has Jessica Rabbit (another fellow redhead, the go to hair color for many cartoon characters) on speed dial.

I believe that, when people aren’t looking, she steals away to an animated forest and talks with woodland creatures. And I believe that if you tried to embrace her, your arms would simply go right through and bump against some kind of rear projection screen.

I’d long suspected it. Even though she was sensational in “Junebug,” the 2005 indie movie that put her on the map, there was an element about her performance that seemed from another planet. Turns out she was from another dimension — the two-dimensional kind.

I enjoyed her performance as Sister James in “Doubt,” in which she plays a nun who has to judge whether Father Brendan Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is a pedophile. Her Tinkerbell innocence was so pure, it was as though she had stumbled into the real world from a Disney animated feature. It was not unlike the way the Jeff Daniels character, Tom Baxter, steps directly off in the screen in “The Purple Rose of Cairo.”

In the 2007 “Enchanted,” Adams played Princess Giselle, a cartoon that literally comes to life. Right then I realized that was pure typecasting. Adams was telling us her secret, the way we thought the Beatles were telling us Paul McCartney was dead when he was the only barefoot band member on the album cover for “Abbey Road.”

If someone buried Paul, then someone else hand-drew Amy Adams. 

After watching “Julie & Julia,” all doubts were gone. In the movie, which stars Meryl Streep in a fabulous, fun performance (that’s another article), Adams plays Julie Powell, a real-life Queens, N.Y., resident, who made it her mission one year to cook and blog all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s 1961 cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."

Go see this movie. Tell me this actress is flesh and blood. I dare you. Oh and please bring fingerprints. I need physiological evidence.

  
As Powell, Adams proves congenitally incapable of even hinting at a shadowy side — something even the most bubbly of flesh-owning humans can do. Adams’ Julie is devoid of — to use a musical term — any minor chords. Like a Disney cartoon, she’s not just drawn that way.

Thus, when she claims to be having a crisis because she has turned 30, her sunny personality — call it her perkonality — can barely muster a disconsolate expression, let alone convince us of her inner anguish.

During the course of the movie, she suffers weight gain (from eating those recipes). She has crying jags. She becomes an obsessive for Julia Child. She laments that she never completed anything in her life. And she fights with her ridiculously supportive husband (played by Chris Messina).

But you have to take her word for it. She says she feels these things. She says she’s fighting with her spouse. She says she’s being a bitch. But she can’t make herself feel these things because she was put together by Disney animators.

If you were to turn off the sound during these “dark” moments of the soul, and watched Adams performing in silence, you’d think she was Snow White, breathily singing “Want to know a secret? Promise not to tell? We are standing by a wishing well.”

The best she can do is an upside down smile.

Was the real Julie Powell this insipid and perky when she weathered the doubts and disappointments any writers and bloggers without money would? Here’s the real Julie Powell discussing her reaction to the movie: In real life, she told various media sources: “Everything was not quite so twinkly. In the movie, you only get one F-word, and Stanley [Tucci, another actor in the movie] got it. And I was a little resentful that I didn’t get it. That kind of drives me crazy.”

And here’s Amy Adams, talking about an earlier role, the one she played in the 2007 movie “Charlie Wilson’s War.”

“I called my mom after we shot [the movie], and I said, ‘Has my ponytail always bounced from side to side when I walk?’ I think there are elements of my personality that are very cartoonish.”

As we say at the end of a philosophical argument or mathematical proof, quod erat demonstrandum, or Q.E.D.

As in, I rest my case.

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