It’s Raising Helen! In a kitchen!
Well, actually, this is a remake of a 2001 German movie. Except it’s not a remake so much as it is “based on the original screenplay Mostly Martha by Sandra Nettelbeck”, which strikes me as an odd credit. At any rate, No Reservations is the brand of movie that, if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen the whole movie.
This isn’t a bad thing, necessarily, because the main cast is talented: the incredibly beautiful Catherine Zeta-Jones, charismatic Aaron Eckhart and thoroughly unannoying child actress Abigail Breslin raise the movie above being too shockingly twee. It strikes an okay balance, and makes for the perfect “Liz Movie”. (The definition of a Liz Movie is the sort of movie that I would only see with my friend Liz, and under no other circumstances).
Kate (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is an incredibly talented chef with no personal life. When her sister dies, Kate is given charge of her niece Zoe (Abigail Breslin). In Kate’s mourning period, her boss (Patricia Clarkson) hires Italian chef Nick Palmer (Aaron Eckhart) to take care of the kitchen.
This is a movie that offers no surprises, but also no real problems. Only once did I ever feel that there was a bizarre leap of logic on the part of Zoe. The relationship between Nick and Kate (because you know that Kate’s initial distaste would give way to respect, and to love) hinges almost too strongly on Zoe, but this is the sort of film that thrives on sentiment and will contrive it in any means possible, while most of the time keeping the strings of contrivance cleverly hidden from human sight.
The reason I’m covering No Reservations in any capacity is because I felt that I needed to point out that I watch this sort of movie as a balance for the super awesome movies you’re about to see me cover. I’ll let you know which movies those are, so you don’t think I’m confusing Die Hard 4.0 for high art.
… which it is, of course.
At any rate, No Reservations is thoroughly inoffensive, and mostly pleasant to watch. It avoided most of the traps of this sort of movie to produce an ending that absolutely everyone in human history could see coming, and is none the worse for having done so.