No Reservations

"Very Good"

No Reservations Review


Amidst the action-adventure blockbusters and schlocky teen horror of summer, we always get, for better or worse, the requisite Hollywood warm-weather date movie. No Reservations may live up to its ancestry, and while that isn't saying a whole lot, it's still a relatively sweet, if predictable and overly slick, romance.

Catherine Zeta-Jones plays Kate, a control-freak chef so tightly wound it's a wonder she doesn't pop in the steam of her kitchen. Despite her position as reigning queen of the Manhattan foodie set, her killer West Village apartment, and the fact that she looks like Catherine Zeta-Jones, Kate is a sad sack; she does not really exist outside of her job and her employer-ordered therapy (Kate also has a temper, see, when anyone, customers included, question her perfection).

Charming romantic comedy conventions intervene for Kate, however, when her sister dies suddenly, leaving Kate to care for her wide-eyed, mini-bohemian 10-year-old niece Zoe (Abigail Breslin) at the same time that a larger-than-life sous chef, who impossibly seems to be able to cook well and enjoy life, gets a job in Kate's kitchen. Nick (Aaron Eckhart, doing what almost seems to be a Gerard Depardieu impression for some unknown, albeit charming, reason) pushes all of Kate's buttons and instantly hits it off with Zoe, and thus begins Kate's transition from uptight headcase to romantic comedy lead.

There is clearly nothing here to tax any acting muscles, and while Eckhart, for one, has proven himself capable of more, he still plays the sweetly endearing Mr. Perfect with visible ease. Zeta-Jones is looking a bit tired here, but is still just fine as a very sad and restrained woman. It's nice to have a strong support cast, too, even if their talents are all completely unnecessary. Folks like Patricia Clarkson and Bob Balaban, as the restaurant owner and psychiatrist, respectively, really have no reason to be here save the paycheck, but they are welcome nonetheless.

For all the times that No Reservations is utterly conventional and predictable, it is kind enough to sidestep the contrived complications that often litter the genre -- Zoe is a little girl in mourning, but she isn't acting like a devil child out to destroy Aunt Kate. (Plus, it helps that Breslin is the most adorable, realistic child actor out there. She would take Dakota Fanning in an act-off cage match any day.) Even the cookie cutter romance isn't plagued by wacky, trite misunderstandings to veer it off course.

This is not to say the movie doesn't take advantage of convenient plot devices -- a controlling star chef working at a restaurant with a hands-on and bossy owner all up in her business defies logic. And while there are numerous problems a single woman working an executive chef's hours in Manhattan would face by suddenly becoming a parent to a tween girl, finding adequate, accommodating childcare when she has the money to shell out for it? Is not one of them. Perhaps it comes from changing the locale -- Reservations is based on a German comedy, Mostly Martha, and the finer points may have been more palatable in the original setting.

But even as Reservations kept in may of Martha's finer points, it's missing the inherent charm of the original. It is a sweet enough genre piece, but what prevents it from being more is a lack of wonder or magic to make it truly likeable. Even this summer's earlier foodfest Ratatouille showed more passion for the gourmet, by a cartoon rat no less, than Kate ever does -- she seems to cook out of drive, never out of true love. It's funny enough, but not particularly endearing, and it takes more than sappy montages set to music and a jaunty scene involving a bicycle built for three to build up any real feeling for the characters.

Didn't you see Fight Club?



No Reservations

Facts and Figures

Run time: 104 mins

In Theaters: Friday 27th July 2007

Box Office USA: $43.1M

Budget: $28M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Castle Rock Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 41%
Fresh: 66 Rotten: 94

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Sergio Aguero,

Starring: Catherine Zeta-Jones as Kate, as Nick, as Zoe, as Paula, as Leah, as Therapist, as Sean, Lily Rabe as Bernadette, Eric Silver as John, as Christine, as Charlotte

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.