Movie Review for No Reservations (2007)

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Review #486 of 365
Movie Review of No Reservations (2007) [PG] 105 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $12.75
Where Viewed: United Artists Denver Pavilions Stadium 15, Denver, CO
When 1st Seen: 21 July 2007
Time: 7:30 pm
DVD Release Date: 12 February 2008 (click date to purchase or pre-order)
Film's Official WebsiteFilm's Trailer

Soundtrack: order the CD below

Directed by: Scott Hicks (Hearts in Atlantis)
Screenplay by: Carol Fuchs (debut) based on the screenplay "Mostly Martha" by Sandra Nettlebeck

Featured Cast (Where You Might Remember Him/Her From):
Catherine Zeta-Jones (The Legend of Zorro) • Aaron Eckhart (The Black Dahlia) • Abigail Breslin (The Ultimate Gift) • Patricia Clarkson (All the King's Men)

Click for 'Review Lite' [a 150-word or less review of this film]
What happens when you mix up zesty truffle Catherine Zeta-Jones with wild oats Aaron Eckhart and a dash of pouty and pungent parsley Abigail Breslin? The answer requires a reservation to see their new film, No Reservations directed by Scott Hicks from the screenplay by Carol Fuchs based on the original screenplay "Mostly Martha" by Sandra Nettlebeck. The delightful film could be billed as a romantic dramedy set in the confines of the Manhattan realm of one of the city's finest chefs, Kate (Catherine Zeta-Jones)—in other words, her apartment, her kitchen in the restaurant, and the fish market where she arrives early each morning to score the finest ingredients for the treasures she will prepare that evening. This is her world, this is her life.

"… a good and touching film about learning to let people in to one's life and then to love them."
Having trained under the finest chefs, she gives all credit for her prowess with saffron sauces and foie gras to her mother whom she believed to be the best cook in the world, though entirely unappreciated by her family, except, of course Kate. For reasons that even her therapist (Bob Balaban) cannot uncover, Kate holds some deeply rooted issues of trust. She relies on herself, and she lets no one in. Occasionally, she's reputed to taking her disappointment out on customers who complain about the preparation of her food much to the dismay of the owner / manager, Paula (Patricia Clarkson). Kate's world is upended permanently, however, when on a trip to the city to visit her, her sister and niece are involved in a car accident leaving her sister dead and her niece, Zoe (Abigail Breslin) badly shaken. As Zoe's only living relative, Kate becomes her legal guardian despite short notice, complete lack of training, nor knowledge of what she must do even just to get her to eat. While this is a lot for Kate to handle, it's a lot for Zoe to absorb and adjust to as well. Paula worries that Kate's icy personality and personal family issues will decrease her capacity to run the kitchen, so she hires another chef, Nick (Aaron Eckhart) to come in and serve as the new sous chef. He's happy to expand his career working under Kate as he knows he can learn a great deal. When Kate finds out, of course, though she sees him as an opportunist clamoring for her job and taking advantage of her situation. Will his charm and free-spirited nature be just the right ice pick needed to chisel into her frozen heart opening up worlds of possibilities for a new family for Zoe? Well, you'll just have to see the film to find out, won't you?No Reservations is not a deep film, it's more of a quiet and quaint sort of film that comes along every so often to warm the heart and soul, politely tickle the funny bone, and remind us of our real purposes in life: to love and to eat or to love to eat. Smaller of scope and scale, the film does only one thing elaborately, and that is in the area of food preparation. One of the best scenes of the film comes when Nick comes over as part of Zoe's wish--she earned one afternoon when Kate forgot to come pick her up after school—to make pizza. Zoe is finally breaking out of her shell, and the two prepare a wonderfully exotic dinner feast. Sweet little touches that reminded me of a core philosophy I developed as a child in response to the diametrically opposing styles of raising children employed by my two parents, "It's the little things, day after day, that really count, not the big thing once a year designed to cause you to forget the pain you went through. Likewise, it is the elegant hints of decency and love that season this film and cause it to evoke wonderful feelings.

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Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart are perfect in their roles blending their good looks with stubborn personalities creating characters that fit the 'opposites' attract bill. As the film focuses on them, the other characters fall a bit into the cliché zone, with the exception, of course, of Zoe. Not to pick on her too much, but The problem with Zoe is that Abigail Breslin, while certainly the little kid actress du jour (with all due respect to Dakota Fanning), is 11 years old, while the character seems like she's supposed to be more like 6 or 7. In kid years, this is a huge difference. An 11-year old is typically in 5th or 6th grade and probably wouldn't behave like Zoe behaves even under these circumstances. She behaves much more like a 1st or 2nd grader, but she's too big, and too sophisticated to be a 1st or 2nd grader. The film would have been strengthened if either a younger actress had been selected for the role or the role had been altered to fit the actress' chronological age. This is very apparent when considering her performance in Little Miss Sunshine where the character better fits her age. No Reservations probably is not going to win any awards, but it definitely deserves a spot on this summer's movie menu that otherwise is virtually void of real romance stories. It's a good and touching film about learning to let people in to one's life and then to love them.

Still Photo Gallery for No Reservations (2007)

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart
as Kate and Nick

Catherine Zeta-Jones as Kate

Aaron Eckhart as Nick

Aaron Eckhart as Nick

Abigail Breslin as Zoe

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Related Products from
Other Projects Featuring No Reservations (2007)
Cast Members
Catherine Zeta-JonesAaron EckhartAbigail Breslin
Patricia Clarkson
Scott Hicks
Carol Fuchs
CD Soundtrack
Original Film DVD

Review-lite No Reservations (2007) [max of 150 words]
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart play rival chefs in this wonderfully seasoned summer dramedy about one woman's worl and how a handsome stranger might finally find the right recipe to win over her heart with the help of her recently, tragically-acquired, niece (Abigail Breslin). Not destined to win major awards, nonetheless, No Reservations deserves a spot on this summer's menu devoid of any real romance with the exception of that between a boy and his robot Camaro®. Zeta-Jones and Eckhart have wonderful onscreen chemistry, though Abigail Breslin comes across as too old for her role. The film, nonetheless, will tickle the palette as much as the funny bone. Perfect for those in the 'sentimental' category.

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