No Reservations (2007)

No Reservations is the Hollywood remake of the German film, Mostly Martha. It stars Aaron Eckhart, Abigail Breslin and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Zeta-Jones is Kate, a driven executive chef in a swanky Manhattan restaurant. Apparently no one ever told her the phrase "Work to live, don't live to work," as she has her entire life is tied up in this restaurant, and she has little (more like nothing) outside of it. The plot develops with a crisis as Kate's sister is coming into town to visit, and is fatally killed in an automobile accident, and her niece, Zoe (Breslin), is injured as well. Suddenly Kate has to fulfill her godmotherly duties and raise her sister's child, a responsibility that she unenthusiastically fulfills.

Along the way, we realize that Kate is wholly unprepared for this endeavor, despite her outward achievement at the restaurant. Seriously, it shouldn't take a psychotherapist to suggest making the kid fishsticks instead of duck or a whole fish (with the head on) to eat! Geez, no wonder Zoe wasn't quite gobbling this fare up! Enter Nick (Eckhart), a budding chef that for most of the film we can't decide if he is truly studying under Kate, or waiting for his chance to push her aside in the kitchen. Quite predictably, and inevitably, a romance develops between Kate and Nick.

No Reservations, while mostly predictable, is still a good film. There's no plot twists and turns to keep track of. You can guess the ending halfway through, and there's no surprises along the way beyond an occasional speed bump. It's like ordering a hamburger at the diner: completely predictable, but still satisfying. Sometimes, that just what your taste buds need, and this film can deliver. All three stars turn in convincing performances so No Reservations is definitely a safe viewing choice.

Overall Grade: B+

Reviewed by Jonas

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