No Reservations

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Review byMatthew Turner29/08/2007

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 104 mins

Disappointing, undercooked romcom that falls flat due to the lack of chemistry between the two leads and is only livened up by Abigail Breslin's performance.

What's it all about?
Based on 2001's German romcom Mostly Martha, No Reservations stars Catherine Zeta-Jones as Kate Armstrong, a workaholic New York chef who's ordered into therapy by her boss, Paula (Patricia Clarkson), because her bouts of rage keep scaring off the customers. However, Kate's problems get a whole lot worse when her sister dies in a tragic accident and she inherits her 9-year-old niece, Zoe (Abigail Breslin), despite knowing nothing about childcare.

Ignoring her boss's pleas to take some time off, Kate starts bringing Zoe to work with her, so Paula hires high-spirited sous chef Nick (Aaron Eckhart) to take up the slack in the kitchen. Naturally the pair of them start out bickering but end up falling for each other, especially when Kate sees how good Nick is with Zoe.

The Good
Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) pretty much steals the film as Zoe, bringing a believable underlying sadness to her role that's consistent with her supposed grief. Zeta-Jones is good too (particularly during her angry scenes) but the film wastes its talented supporting cast by giving both Clarkson and Bob Balaban (as Kate's beleagured but well-fed therapist) little or nothing to do.

The Bad
The film's biggest problem is that there's zero chemistry between the two leads, so you don't really care whether they get together or not. The script is also painfully underwritten, substituting quirks (Kate's bouts of rage, Nick listening to opera while he works) for character.

The bottom line is that the original film told the exact same story and packed a powerful emotional punch into the bargain, whereas all this disappointing, Hollywood-ised remake can manage is the occasional smile.

Worth seeing?
No Reservations is watchable enough as these things go, but it's a huge disappointment compared to the original. Rent Mostly Martha instead.

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Content updated: 10/12/2019 23:52

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