"ERIN BROCKOVICH" PREMIERE
SANTA MONICA, Calif., March 17, 2000 -- It's official: Media wags can't stop talking about Julia Roberts and her uh, um, well ... breasts.
"Erin Brockovich" See, the thing is that Julia shows a little more than we're all accustomed to seeing of her in "Erin Brockovich," the new Steven Soderbergh movie opening today, in which our star plays a small-town divorced mother who wages environmental-lawsuit war against a big, evil corporation. And, oh, Julia's character favors halter tops.
Inquiring minds (ours) wanted to know. Precisely how many journalists are obsessed with Julia's latest development? And, how are the stylebook-bound reporter types referring to the, uh, chest area of America's most popular woman?
Hollywood.com enlisted the help of Lexis-Nexis, the online repository of newspaper articles from around the world (actually, we just paid their $24 fee and did the searching ourselves). Our findings revealed not only how many reporters, reviewers and columnists have taken note of the actress's eye-popping attire in the film, but also how bashful they are when they write about it.
Overall, we found 18 articles published through Thursday that made mention of Roberts' frontal attributes in "Erin Brockovich." Eleven writers used what is perhaps the most benign term, "cleavage," although several only did so in a direct, and oft-repeated, quote (Roberts: "I'd gone 30 years without cleavage and suddenly, pow!")
Two other scribes called them "breasts," and one writer ventured to use the word "bosom." Three more articles dared use the term "boobs," but only in a quote from the film's dialogue (When Roberts' boss asks how she plans to obtain some evidence, she replies, "They're called boobs, Ed.")
Here are a few of our fave raves about Julia's boobs:
"As she works her way through dozens of outrageously revealing getups, her cantilevered cleavage becomes an ongoing sight gag. She deserves a new Oscar category: best-supported actress." (Brian D. Johnson, Maclean's)
"This is a film of a hundred skirts -- none lower than the knee -- and a cavalcade of cleavage." (Quentin Curtis, London Daily Telegraph)
"The serious buzz about 'Erin Brockovich' is about the serious cleavage suddenly sported by Julia Roberts. Did her research for the role include a little plastic surgery? That would be a flat-out no." (Lisa Lenoir, Chicago Sun-Times)
"She switches to a tone of witty self-deprecation as she talks about the challenge of making herself credible on screen as a real-life character given to very short skirts and very prominent cleavage." (Jamie Portman, Ottawa Citizen)
"The statuesque blond with the big bosom and teeny miniskirts doesn't know that in her immediate future she holds the destiny of hundreds of people." (Stephen Schaefer, Boston Herald) For the sake of completeness, we also consulted Yahoo! for a list of other words and euphemisms for "breasts," and found the following terms: Heavy hangers, melons, Winnebagos, hooters, rack, bust, mammaries. And, no, we didn't catch any journalists using these in reference to America's Favorite Actress.
As a control experiment, we also ran a search on the phrases "Julia Roberts," "Erin Brockovich" and "talent" (hers). Perhaps tellingly, we found only one article that matched, specifically referring to Roberts' acting talent. In a March 12 story for the Buffalo News, Jeff Simon called the actress "a $20 million talent -- and also, by the way, the most loved woman in current American movies."
On a related note, in our search we inadvertently found an article that referred to Jennifer Lopez's breasts in terminology that seemed, well, fresh. Toronto Star columnist Mike Slaughter, commenting on Lopez's skimpy Grammy-night attire, wrote on Feb. 27: "... The 'dress' certainly took emphasis off Lopez' overexposed butt. And moved it to her overexposed breasts. Gotta say, those puppies are certainly perky."
Gotta say, we didn't catch any reporters calling Julia Roberts's breasts "puppies," or "perky" for that matter.