No Reservations Review
Have you ever been to dinner at a friend’s house and enjoyed the meal so much that you’ve asked for a doggy bag? Then when you reheat the food the next day it just doesn’t taste the same. The same thing applies here. This is a loose remake of the German film Mostly Martha, which was an adequate time filler six years ago, whereas No Reservations can only aspire to adequacy.
Catherine Zeta Jones plays Kate, a beautiful, single, successful Manhattan chef who lives in an apartment the size of a third world country and lives solely to work. It’s a character that only exists in the movies and, even in them, only exists so they can be swept off their feet by a handsome stranger. Into her isolated world arrives her niece – nicely played by Abigail Breslin – recently orphaned and looking for a mother figure. What kind of social services would hand a small child over to a single woman, who works all night, is something that it’s best not to dwell on. Remember we are in rom-com land here. Add Aaron Eckhart into the mix as her sexy new workmate, and you really don’t need a road map to see where this is heading.
Girl resents woman, woman resents man, man loves kid, kid loves man etc etc until we reach a place where they are all in love with each other. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not averse to a good old fashioned romantic comedy, after all I’m a new man and like a good cry as much as the next metrosexual, but what I do object to is when it’s done in such a lazy, formulaic way. There is no dramatic tension between the two leads in the beginning, and no sexual tension at the end. The use of musical montages gets very tiring, looking more like commercials for Sainsbury's than part of a movie, and when will Hollywood realise that there are more operas in the world than just Madame Butterfly and Turandot if they are looking for backing music to show just how Italian a character is?
Scott Hicks gave us the Oscar winning Shine, and Snow Falling On Cedars - in my opinion one of the most visually beautiful films of the last twenty years - so it’s a real shame to see him wasting his talent on run of the mill fare like this. The same can be said of the actors, who don’t put much heart or soul into what is a very poor script. Neither funny nor dramatic, this wont trouble the multiplexes for long and will soon be in the bargain bin in your local DVD store. Ten years ago this would have been a vehicle for Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, and would probably have been all the better for it.
If you are on the lookout for a good film, containing some great food, much better you rent out Like Water For Chocolate or Eat Drink Man Woman. Both a lot more satisfying than this undercooked dish.