Next up in the Valentine Marathon is another little movie with a lovely actress that I haven’t watched in a while, Catherine Zeta-Jones. I’ve never even heard of this one until it popped up on Netflix. When you put rom-com, food/cooking and a fine cast together, there is no question how this one, No Reservations, ended up on my rundown.
Let’s check it out! 🙂
NO RESERVATIONS (2007)
Director: Scott Hicks
Cast: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart, Abigail Breslin, Patricia Clarkson, Jenny Wade, Bob Balaban, Brian F. O’Byrne
Kate is one of the best chefs in town running the kitchen at 22 Bleecker Restaurant in Manhattan. She lives by a set of rules and her life is the restaurant neglecting everything else that she needs. Her boss, Paula (Patricia Clarkson) makes her go to therapy to hopefully ensure that she won’t offend any more clients. However, when her sister has an accident, she is given the role to take care of her young niece, Zoe (Abigail Breslin). While she’s away, Paula hires an opera singing, Italian cuisine-inspired Nick (Aaron Eckhart) to help out in the kitchen. Somehow, Nick makes her throw her rulebook out the window as she becomes more and more attracted to him.
I don’t know if it happens to other people but writing reviews for romantic comedies get a little challenging after writing a whole bunch. A lot of times, its not so much to look at. No Reservations was one that I enjoyed. It was surprisingly fun to watch and although there was emphasis on food, the story itself was pretty formulaic and predictable. I’m not saying thats a problem for me but that is a flaw that most romantic comedies tend to have. Just being objective. While it was an extremely simple story, the cast really made this a lot better than what it should be. Looking at the cast, can you doubt any of their skills? I’m not such a connoisseur of Catherine Zeta-Jones but she is a classy lady. Aaron Eckhart has been an increasing favorite and lets not even get me started on my personal favorite of Abigail Breslin. And although Patricia Clarkson has only supporting roles most times, I can’t remember one that I didn’t like.
Whats a romantic comedy without talking about the chemistry of the leading man and lady? We’ve already established that the cast is what won me over in No Reservations. Catherine Zeta-Jones plays the very uptight Kate and because of that, sometimes the things she says and does are pretty funny. She’s not so good at dealing with people: not her therapist, not customers who criticize her food, or people who question her lead in the kitchen and especially not a little girl that she had to suddenly take on. And thats how the balance of her when we see Aaron Eckhart’s Nick jump on screen, there’s a lot of funny moments. Her issues are suddenly diminished because of his appearance even without her knowing it and when she does break out of her shell and takes life out of her kitchen and focuses on the more important things, her character becomes even more lovely to watch.
Aaron Eckhart’s character, Nick is written pretty standard but somehow he adds a little flare and charm to it. Who expects this guy who comes from Italian cuisine and Kate expects him to challenge her master chef position but in fact, he turns it around and shows her respect making her think that he wants to be there because he praises her cooking but still keeping his style. He comes in singing opera and having the whole kitchen do it with him and then he’s the one that helps Kate convince and open up her niece’s appetite and then he kind of charms his way into her life by opening her eyes to the world outside of her rules. Aaron Eckhart has this rebellious charm always and anyone else with less presence on the screen with this role wouldn’t have had the same effect.
If we talk child actresses, Abigail Breslin in her younger roles always took my heart away. She is not only adorable but she has this strong character that makes her really fun to watch. Plus, she knows how to use those emotions and capture a role. In here, she’s a little girl who loses her mother suddenly and is forced to live with her aunt who really doesn’t understand her really well, nor does she actually care enough and doesn’t even seem to make that much effort. Zoe’s role in this is the bridge to Kate and Nick’s relationship and the little adventures that Nick and Zoe have are absolutely fun to watch: making pizzas and pancakes and making a pretty boring and routine lifestyle that Kate leads into something with a lot more excitement.
Overall, No Reservations is a romantic comedy that took me by surprise and it was a pleasant surprise. I might not remember it or run out to add it to my collection right away but it gave me a few laughs here and there. Aaron Eckhart and Catherine Zeta-Jones brought on a really sweet chemistry and Abigail Breslin made me smile because she was so lovable and adorable to watch. Its a little formulaic and predictable but somehow this somehow charmed me 🙂
Have you seen No Reservations? What are you thoughts on Aaron Eckhart/Catherine Zeta-Jones/Abigail Breslin? Do you have any favorite movies with them?