No Reservations Scott Hicks

No ReservationsScott Hicks
This film was marketed as a romantic comedy centred on the admittedly sexy world of haute cuisine but in fact, there are not a lot of laughs in it. Kate (Catherine Zeta Jones) is one of New York’s top chefs, an anal retentive bitch who has to have everything her way. When her sister is killed in a car accident and she’s forced to start taking care of her orphaned niece, her world unsurprisingly starts to fall apart. Add an unconventional young sous-chef (Aaron Eckhart) to the mix and you’ve got all the ingredients for rom-com goodness. And yet, when you take it out of the oven, it’s a slow-ish drama. Zeta Jones and Eckhart are convincing enough but the camera spends too much time on them and not enough on the delicious sounding specialties they whip up nightly. A few more lingering shots of scallops and quail might have actually improved the film, or infused it with at least one strong feeling: hunger. Abigail Breslin is pretty cute as the precocious Zoe, the little orphaned girl who helps the two warring chefs realise that they like each other after all. The real gem of this film is the Philip Glass score, which starts out strong and gets strangely abandoned halfway through the film in favour of opera and cheesy love songs. Director Scott Hicks also made Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts, a documentary about the composer. Perhaps that’s how he landed the No Reservations gig. Either way, Hicks should have ditched the lame opera storyline (something about the sous-chef having quirky tastes, I think) and let Glass score the whole thing. Special features include some trailers for films and TV shows, and a special episode of the Food Network show Unwrapped focusing on the film. There are also interviews with the stars and even more interestingly, the real chefs who worked behind the scenes. (Warner)