Movie review: “No Reservations”

Tonight we took out the romantic comedy “No Reservations”. You can tell that I went to the DVD store on my own – if my significant other had gone, the movie might have had the plotline “Superhero from the 25th century travels back in time to save the last woman alive on post-apocalyptic earth”.

Anyway… Catherine Zeta-Jones plays Kate, a seriously obsessive-compulsive chef in an upmarket, fancy-shmancy New York restaurant, whose kitchen she rules with a tight grip on her frying pan, so to speak. Her lovable sister, who – horror of horrors – “never cooks” but merely “heats up” – and her 9-year-old daughter Zoe (Abigail Breslin) are en route to the Big Apple to meet up with Kate. But then there is a car-accident, in which Kate’s sister is killed.

As a result, Kate suddenly has to become a responsible mommy who has to ferry her new daughter to school (and to remember to fetch her), and to feed her in an age-appropriate way (i.e. a fish head and super-expensive (but nonetheless stinky) truffles might not be favourite fare for a kid who’s grown up on pizza and tv-dinners).

During this upheaval of Kate’s life, her boss decides to hire a Sous-Chef from an Italian restaurant, the dimple-chinned Nick (played with both dramatic flair and insightful sensitivity by Aaron Eckhart). During her absence, Nick endears himself to the other kitchen staff, who – probably for the first time – sing and laugh in that rather clinical, stainless steel environment. On her return, Kate (all raised eyebrows and pretty scowl) makes it clear that she cannot tolerate this interloper who loudly sings Italian Opera while preparing food that looks seriously good to eat! (It is fortunate, indeed, that I had cooked a proper meal tonight, or we would have been salivating on the sofa…)

The movie is a little predictable in its plot (with twists and turns of course), but nonetheless it is very charming. I particularly liked one of the peripheral characters, Sean of the Irish accent and the two young wild boys, who lives one floor down from Kate and clearly adores her. (Mind you, it IS Catherine Zeta-Jones!) I wish he had had a few more lines…

And guys – your girls will love it if you take out this movie on an evening when you have actually taken the time beforehand to dip into the Jamie Oliver book she bought especially for you, with the (perhaps not so secret) intention that you should try to make one of his dishes.

Go on, be a devil – cook her those delectable quail surrounded by gently steamed and honeyed julienne carrots, drizzled with a saffron sauce, following it all up with home-made tiramisu as dessert!

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For other movies we’ve watched in February, click on:

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