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Posted at 10:42 AM ET, 12/11/2007

In Praise of Julia Roberts


Every so often we take a break from the snark, push aside our vitriolic hate of Diane Keaton and get all doe-eyed here at Celebritology central. Like any other average Jane, we're (I'm not putting on airs. I refer to myself and my dog, Page.) susceptible to the charms of brilliant, shimmering star power -- especially when that wattage is the equivalent of green energy. Which is a nerdly way of saying "good."

And so today, we gather to sing the praises of one Julia Roberts -- who has again been popping up on red carpets to promote her new movie, "Charlie Wilson's War." She of the big eyes and big smile. She who lives her life largely away from the wack crowd we normally track here. She who pretty much plays herself in every movie, yet manages to be so durn charming we don't mind.

Sure, like any working actor, she's had her fair share of stinkers ("Sleeping with the Enemy," "Mary Reilly," "The Mexican," "America's Sweethearts") and, in the distant past, created a healthy share of tabloid fodder (jilting Kiefer Sutherland, marrying Lyle Lovett after a three-week courtship and, as I'm sure someone will point out, starting her relationship with husband Danny Moder while he was still married to his first wife).

But those blips are so much ancient history and Roberts now stands as a woman who has managed to up her star power while simultaneously flying below the radar. Though slowly returning to steady work (Roberts has three movies in production over the next year or so), she and Moder -- who have been married since 2002 -- live quietly between Taos, New Mexico and New York with twins Hazel Patricia and Phinnaeus Walter (three years old) and Henry Daniel (five months). In fact, Roberts works so hard to maintain a level of normalcy for her family that she chased paparazzi away from her childrens' school last week.

But why do we (Page and I, remember?) like her so much? She's not this generation's Meryl Streep and she's got nothing on the nuanced performances turned in by contemporaries like Kate Winslet or Cate Blanchett. But, there's just something about Roberts's infectious enthusiasm and spirit that defies dislike. Watch her irrepressible performance in her star-making "Pretty Woman" or her painfully true-to-life portrayal of an actress trying to carve out a private life in "Notting Hill" and try not to like this woman. I dare you.

So, join me in banishing all thoughts of Hollywood's lost generation (Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears) from your mind and praising to Julia Roberts -- actor, mother, real woman -- and indulging in what amounts to a little unabashed Julia adulation.

By Liz Kelly  |  10:42 AM ET, 12/11/2007

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