I have No Reservations about posting my 800th review on Epinions!
Sep 16, 2007
Review by captaind
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Frequently funny, good cast, sure direction, great music...
Cons:... rather formulaic and predictable...
The Bottom Line: Romcom fans will enjoy, others will not. It's as simple as that! It probably won't surprise anyone to find out that I enjoyed it.
Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.
Recommend this product?
No Reservations is a romantic comedy starring Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago as Kate, a Chef who is obsessed with her cooking and has little else in her life. She regularly sees a Psychiatrist as Paula (Patricia Clarkson) at the restaurant told her that she would only employ her if she did. On these sessions she talks, of course, about food... and cooking... and more food...
With her focused life apparently set up for years to come to revolve entirely around cooking, Kate's life is turned upside down by the death of her sister - and subsequent inheritance of her young niece Zoe (Abigail Breslin) to look after. Her life is further complicated by the arrival of a new chef in "her" kitchen - the flamboyant Nick (Aaron Eckhart), who loves to sing Italian opera - in the kitchen of all places - and has a much more relaxed attitude to life and cooking than Kate can even understand. However he also took the job because he wanted to work with Kate because of her culinary reputation. As tensions become fraught both at home and work, Kate must make some serious decisions about her attitude towards her life. Failing to connect with Zoe seems even more bewildering when Nick strikes up a friendship with her, and yes before long Kate and Nick seem destined to enter a romantic relationship. The course of true love never runs smoothly of course, or romantic comedies would have a hard time developing their storylines... Oh yeah and did I mention that Kate is really bad at taking criticism?!?!
As with most romcoms it's all pretty formulaic and somewhat predictable, though there are a couple of slightly different elements thrown in. Really it comes down to whether you like the genre or not - if you like romantic comedies in general then you'll enjoy this; however if you don't, I doubt if this will win you over. So if you hate romantic comedies in general you may as well stop reading now!
Kate's character is pretty obsessive and fairly uninteresting, but she is just about likeable enough to keep us interested in what happens to her. Catherine Zeta-Jones is never going to be one of my favourite actresses but I don't mind her, and while she'll never be one of the world's best actresses she does a pretty good job here. Her comic timing was a little out and as was her delivery of some lines, but overall it was a solid performance and her emotions were believable. I quite liked Aaron Eckhart's performance opposite her as the charismatic Italian-influenced Chef . His character produced quite a few laughs though was never really fully explored. Young Abigail Breslin gave a good performance as Zoe, and the way the relationship between woman and girl was explored took a slightly different direction to that in Uptown Girls with Brittany Murphy and Dakota Fanning (whom Breslin is apparently good friends with). It's done with enough sensitivity to maintain believability and isn't too sloppily sentimental.
Of the other characters, Paula Clarkson is pretty good as the Restaurant Manager, though really her character is very boring so she can't put much soul into it. Bob Balaban (End of the Line enjoyed himself hugely as her Psychiatrist, who scolded her for cooking food for him but then got sidetracked when she actually was opening up because it tasted so good. Liby Rabe was funny as Bernadette, a young Waitress who starts taking sex tips from Nick - "You're right, sex is better when you listen to Pavaroti!"... She reminded me very much of Frasier's Peri Gilpin, and the only disappointment for me that it wasn't Gilpin herself!
The humour doesn't always work, but it's quite varied and mostly it does at least raise a smile. It's one of those movies that is very enjoyable and undemanding at the same time, though it does tackle a serious issue here and there almost without you realising it. Director Scott Hicks maintains a fine balance between emotion and humour, situational comedy and absurdity is throughout. It's a very enjoyable film for anyone who likes romcoms - but for those who don't (if you're still reading this despite what I said earlier), it's unlikely to impress.
Rating: PG for some sensuality and language.
The music score (by Philip Glass) was superb.
This is not a film to watch if you're feeling hungry - though the scene where Kate tries to feed Zoe fish with head and tails still on, then wonders why her niece is suddenly not hungry, may put you off for a while... :-D
Thoughts on my 800th review on Epinions
It's kind of appropriate that my 800th review here is of a romantic comedy, since my most successful review is and is likely to always be my Top Ten Romantic Comedies. At 83,835 page views so far, that single review accounts for more than 10% of my total page views - and all because I'm not ashamed to admit I like romcoms (the good ones, at least) even though I'm a guy! One thing I can't stand though - the term "chick flick" - that really annoys me...
200 reviews to go before I get to a thousand - one day I may even get onto Scmrak's prestigious Most Prolific Author list! One day, one day...
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