A rather bland and unimaginative remake of Sandra Nettelbeck´s 2001 Mostly Martha, No Reservations marks a large disappointment from director Scott Hicks (Shine).
Catherine Zeta-Jones stars as Kate, head chef at an upscale Manhattan restaurant whose life is altered by the death of her sister – as Kate becomes the guardian of her young daughter Zoe.
Boss Patricia Clarkson orders Kate to take some time off; when she returns, she finds new chef Nick (Aaron Eckhart) crowding her kitchen.
The two start off as enemies, but of course Eckhart and Zeta-Jones play off each nicely as competing chefs, but have absolutely no chemistry together – and their romance is awkwardly handled in this timid PG movie that feels destined to appeal to no one.
Full of ‘Hollywood´ moments – such as Kate slamming a raw steak in front of a difficult customer who wanted it rare, or Zoe getting upset and running through Manhattan traffic (has this ever happened in real life?) – that starkly contrast with the more realistic nature of the screenplay.
Excellent original score by Philip Glass should have carried the film, but instead is limited to fleeting ‘dramatic´ moments as pop tunes and Pavarotti overtake the happier moments in the movie.