Friday, July 27, 2007

No Reservations

“You know better than anyone.
It’s the recipes you create yourself that are the best.”

Kate (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is the head chef at an upscale New York restaurant. She’s also compulsive, anal, controlling, and a times what could be referred to as a bitch on wheels. All this changes when her sister dies in a car accident leaving her young daughter Zoe (Abigail Breslin) in Kate’s care. To make matters worse the owner of the restaurant (Patricia Clarkson) has hired a new chef (Aaron Eckhart) to spice things up and pick-up the slack in the kitchen as Kate deals with her grief and new responsibilities. You can guess where the story goes from here. Kate learns to be more open and accepting, Zoe struggles with her mother’s death and new surroundings, and the animosity between Kate and Nick turns into love just as movie romances always seem to do.

No Reservations isn’t a bad film, but it’s so predictable and tame that it more resembles a frozen dinner than cuisine. If not for the fact of casting three remarkably talented and likable leads the film would be almost completely unwatchable. Though the star power isn’t enough to turn this turkey into a swan it does enough to make the film at least palatable.

Before ending I must mention Bob Balaban who plays Kate’s therapist in the film, and despite his limited screentime, provides some much needed cynicism and dry wit to what otherwise is a pretty bland, if attractive, picture. The scenes between Zeta-Jones and Eckhart produce some moderate heat, but it’s in the scenes with Balaban that we learn there is more to Kate than the outside bitchy bravado she exudes so well.

The film may fill you up on its high fat content, but if you are truly starving for some food related cinema see if you can find Waitress (read that review) still playing in a small theater near your, or give Pixar’s Ratatouille a try. If you’ve already filled-up those, you can give this one a try

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