No Reservations Reviews
Charming little romantic dramedy breaks no new ground, but wins major points for not pandering to melodrama, but instead giving its audience an honest, touching, and uplifting little story. Remake of the Italian film Mostly Martha. ***1/2 (out of five) Rated PG (mild language and innuendo).
THE FULL SCOOP
I am convinced that professional movie critics often will not like something if it is simple, straightforward, and has an uplifting message. Many appear to only like something "edgy," "new," or envelope-pushing. How else can one explain the lukewarm critical reception for the charming little film No Reservations, a romantic dramedy starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eackhart, and Signs wunderkid Abigail Breslin?
This is a good "cuddle on the couch" movie. I will stay away from spoilers, but suffice to say that I very much enjoyed this movie for its realistic and thorough approach to grieving, family, healing, and falling in love. On paper, the plot seems formulaic but it works because the three main characters (who admittedly seem like one-dimensional caricatures initially) are all fleshed out subtly and believably as the film goes on.
Zeta-Jones is often far too glamorous for me to see her as anything but a sex symbol, but here she gives a solid, very grounded performance. She's both selfish and selfless, confident yet vulnerable, bright but can be ditzy...in short, she's human. Abigail Breslin continues to be the best child actor working today with a performance that is heartwarming, heartbreaking, and very real.
Aaron Eckhart (to be seen in The Dark Knight this summer), is extremely likable and charming. His romance with Zeta-Jones plays out without a lot of fanfare, which is why I liked it. It feels like the type of unforced process that happens in the real world. Of course it starts with the standard "love-hate" scenario and near the end there's a crisis that threatens to drive them apart, but to the film's credit, neither cliched plot device occupies a lot of screen time. Instead, the bulk of the drama comes from the more realistic tragedy that brings these three people together. The comedy, as well, plays out more like the comedy that occurs in real life. This is not a knee-slapping, hilarious romantic comedy a la While You Were Sleeping, but it's not meant to be.
No Reservations doesn't break any new ground, but it does display the beautiful aspects of our humanity without forcing it. Most romantic comedies are fairly predictable; you know exactly what you're going to get, and if you like the genre (and I do), you are rarely disappointed. No Reservations, however, has the distinction of being a bit more subtle, more straightforward, more real, and carries a bit more depth than most. Like the food the characters prepare, it's very much the same as similar dishes you've enjoyed, only better.
Seeing a cute young Abigail Breslin reminded me how nice Definitely, Maybe is. You should watch that instead.
Tipote idiaitero alla katholou asximi taineia.
A chef's integrity must be at parties or even better then the store's integrity in producing the best quality of food for its customers. An unbreakable relationship that goes hand in hand with the manager's expectations. When everything must be prrfect, when everything comes fresh and is coming straight from where it came from to your plate. When it's not a matter about other people's tastes but our own. We hold everything up to our expectations, and structure with obedience and rules that makes everything perfect to prepare. When other times we care, what others think when it keeps us in check and our mind at ease. When we have great help that assist us and are required to work at a level of quality that is as much in demand as the food.
When we don't know what to expect when we enter the kitchen and out, but we have to prepare. When not all things we are prepared for, but we have to face regardless. When we are shut off from the world when we are in the zone in the kitchen, until it hits us and brings us back into reality. When we are alone in the zone, and not alone when we have those people who fill our reality. Which one we prefer or require the right balance to maintain,we need to make necessary adjustments.
When we have less of a stomach when we have to Bon AppĂ (C)tite. When food is meant to be enjoyed and have an appetite for when we are happy.
When the quality of food is based on our style and technique to which we do it. A level of positivity, love and insight in cooking that makes us great in preparing. When we are used to working in a fast paced joint, to serving for one. When we try our hardest for those that make us who we are, to even when in home to those whom matter because we love them. When there is no 1 great taste, and the palette has plenty of great tastes to choose from.
When we needed a different perspective, eye and stomach to see what we have been missing. When food is not only in the stomach but in the heart and mind that makes it taste extra good. When food, our hearts, mind, soul, and stomach needs to be treated with extra delicacy and extra tender care that is extra satisfying.
When there is always room for enjoyment when food is considered, when fun makes food even better tasting.
When we must search for the best products to the best products making their way to us. The best deserves the best for the best to taste. When being a great chef is similar in being a composer or artist.
When our passions has room for cooking food, family and love life. When our passions are restricted with too much expectations from management and customers that it's better to part ways and start on your own.
A cookbook for life and recipes. When all that is missing in Bon AppĂ (C)tite is the feeling to enjoy what we do.
Better than it might have been as a crap popcorn offering