Valentine Marathon: No Reservations (2007)

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)

no reservations

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.

No ReservationsI 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.

no reservations

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.

no reservations

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.

no reservations

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?

Valentine’s Marathon: The Lucky One (2012)

The Lucky One is the first movie in this marathon where I have not read the book and know absolutely nothing about the movies.  Fresh eyes, fresh mind and I’m always open-minded with no judgment going in.  I have my Nicholas Sparks mood set in and I’m ready for any amount of romance and tragedy he’s ready to throw at me.  My Kleenex box is conveniently located nearby…lets check it out, shall we?

the lucky one posterDirector: Scott Hicks

Cast: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner, Riley Thomas Stewart, Jay R. Ferguson

Former Marine Logan (Zac Efron) returns home to Colorado after three tours.  During those tours, after a raid, he found a picture of a woman with the words “Keep Safe” written behind it.  After being unable to find the rightful owner, he keeps it with him and it turns out that he believes that its his lucky charm as he survives many near death situations that others don’t.  When he comes back home, he traces the background landmark of the photo and decide to go find her in Louisiana (I think).  While there, he finds out that her name is Beth Green (Taylor Schilling) and a divorced mother who owns a pet boarding school.  Seeing her there, Logan can’t find the words to explain how he got there but fortunately, despite Beth’s initial negative response in assuming that he was looking for a job there, her grandmother (Blythe Danner) hires him to help out.  Beth starts slowly learning more about Logan and they become drawn to each other despite her ex-husband’s disapproval and threats to take  away her son. At the same time, his secret is in danger of being revealed as well.

the lucky one zac taylorI had no idea what to expect for The Lucky One since I didn’t really know much about it.  I remember having a glimpse of the trailer when it was first released and I never really go on the boyish Zac Efron train despite finding enjoyment with High School Musical a few years back.  Looking at it, this seems to be his first role where he’s being an adult with some drama attached to him.  Feels a bit like the sudden transition of I had when Daniel Radcliffe went from Harry Potter to his married man role in The Woman in Black.  I have to admit that I kind of like Zac Efron here. His character, Logan has a charm and attractiveness and he’s that protective manly guy that appeals to me. I don’t see Zac Efron ever being a great actor but then , what do I know..I haven’t seen that much from him.  All I’m really saying is that Logan worked for me. the lucky one zac efron

After talking about the leading man ( which is actually rare in Nicholas Sparks novels),  we have our leading lady, Beth, played by Taylor Schilling. I haven’t seen any movies/TV with her (and no, I did not see Orange Is the New Black). Still, the chemistry between her and Zac Efron was awesome.  I started getting the vibes I got when I was watching A Walk to Remember.  Its sweet (in a more mature way), and more intense since they had a lot of intense making out, kissing, sex, you know, adult stuff.  I was actually waiting for something more intense to happen eventually in these romance because they were all so tame…not that thats what defines love connection but anyways, I like it in this one 🙂

the lucky one glory fleeting

After watching a few after A Walk to Remember that didn’t work because of the story, or characters or the actors, this one felt like it fit perfect.  It was a breath of fresh air.  It had some sweet lines, a really good chemistry and a nice romance with certain difficulties.  Its more mature and yet, makes you feel young because its about finding that lucky person that makes you smile and laughs with you to just encourage you to follow what you want.  Its really good, ok? I was pleasantly surprised 🙂 Plus, it had lots of adorable dogs, cute kid and witty/inspirational grandma.  The main theme in this is destiny and I’m a sucker for that also.  I believe everything happens for a reason and all that stuff.

Nicholas Sparks adaptations always have a formula set in different scenarios, sometimes, they work well and sometimes, not so great.  This is definitely one of the better ones.  You can expect me to get that book sometime soon.  I’ve learned that if the movie is good, the novel is probably going to be great 🙂

What are your thoughts on The Lucky One? What do you think about Zac Efron and any movies that he’s been in that has made an impression on you?

One more to go before this marathon ends, remember to check back tomorrow and I have something special for all of you also! 🙂