But I didn't feel the heat. Still, at its heart, this is the typical odd-couple romantic movie with a little girl thrown in to stir the pot. Clarkson balances on the tight wire a restaurant owner must walk. With breathtaking precision, she powers through each hectic shift, coordinating hundreds of meals, preparing delicate sauces, seasoning and simmering each dish to absolute perfection. The atmosphere in the kitchen is somewhat chaotic as Kate feels increasingly threatened by Nick as time goes on due to his style of running her kitchen. The emotional connection between Kate and the cuisine she artfully creates is entertaining and satisfying.
The kitchen works better, with shots of luscious-looking food, arranged like organic still lifes. Tracking down a streaming service to buy, rent, download, or view the Scott Hicks-directed movie via subscription can be challenging, so we here at Moviefone want to take the pressure off. And Kate finds herself strangely attracted to Nick, whose uplifting personality has not only affected her staff but Zoe as well, who has been coming to work with Kate. He blasts opera while directing the kitchen staff and boasts that he never went to cooking school but learned the basics in a rural Italian restaurant he encountered while backpacking across Europe. Eckhart struggles manfully with an unconvincing character is he really afraid to run his own kitchen? Zeta-Jones gamely braves the lights with minimal makeup and she looks lovely as the culinary perfectionist with virtually no personal life and the lack of voice mail to prove it. Though romance blooms in the face of rivalry, Kate needs to look outside the kitchen to find true happiness. Kate and Nick are required by the terms of the formula to be drawn irresistibly together, despite their professional rivalry.
It goes through the motions, but the characters seem to feel more passion for food than for each other. But at home, Kate's a mess. Watching its trailer, I can't decide anything about the quality of the original film, but I do recognize many of the same scenes, and even similar locations. Cornering the market on playing put-upon children, Abigail Breslin is fine as Zoe, even though she has to be glumly depressed for much of the film. Nick sees nothing wrong with building his relationship with Zoe around the fine art of cooking. There's romance in No Reservations, but not the kind you would expect from a Hollywood romantic comedy. Let them snicker at this enjoyable motion picture—which in spots resembles in reverse—because that is exactly the point.
A master chef, Kate, lives her life like she runs the kitchen at upscale 22 Bleecker Restaurant in Manhattan--with a no-nonsense intensity that both captivates and intimidates everyone around her. Even her controlling boss Paula Patricia Clarkson insists she get therapy. Zeta-Jones is convincing as a short-tempered chef, if not as a replacement mom and potential lover. With breathtaking precision, she powers through each hectic shift, coordinating hundreds of meals, preparing delicate sauces, seasoning and simmering each dish to absolute perfection. Rivalry becomes romance, but Kate will have to learn to express herself beyond the realm of her kitchen if she wants to connect with Zoe and find true happiness with Nick. Before Kate and Nick spar over the posh restaurant's stove, placed in competition by proprietor Paula, a jarring realignment of Kate's tidy routine occurs, causing her to reexamine priorities and incorporate her niece Zoe Abigail Breslin, noticeably thinner than she appeared in into her busy days. Hicks and Fuchs also seem intent on inserting predictable clichés along the way to reinforce the formulaic approach taken with the story.
You probably already know what the movie's about, but just in case. Aaron Eckhart seems to be playing more of a plot device as Nick, but he does it well, and the requisite sparks occur with Zeta-Jones. But the emotional details of Kate, Nick and Zoe's journey are surprising, honest and life-size, and the film's determination to present their predicament sympathetically, without appealing to retrograde ideals of femininity and motherhood, makes it notable, and in some ways unique. Zoe's recovery from her mother's death becomes a complicating factor, but the rest of the story plays out basically how you would presume. The movie concludes with Zoe, Nick, and Kate having opened their own bistro. Nick also develops a special bond with Zoe.
Nick, however, wants to work under Kate. Catherine Zeta-Jones is very good and overcomes the predictable material. However, a recipe for disaster may be in the works when she becomes the guardian of her young niece Abigail Breslin while crossing forks with the brash sous-chef Aaron Eckhart who just joined her staff. It jumps around abruptly from light comedy to heavy drama too often. In the end, Kate allows herself to become vulnerable and tear down the walls she has built throughout her life so that she and Nick could start fresh.
However, a recipe for disaster may be in the works when she becomes the guardian of her young niece Abigail Breslin while crossing forks with the brash sous-chef Aaron Eckhart who just joined her staff. So tightly wound is Kate that restaurant owner Paula forces her to see a therapist to address her supposedly difficult personality. But Zoe gets along fine with Nick, who lets her chop basil in the kitchen and tempts her with spaghetti, and soon she's playing matchmaker between the two grown-ups. As if that wasn't enough, Paula has hired Nick, a rowdy opera-loving sous-chef, to partner with Kate as she struggles with her personal transition at home. Though romance blooms in the face of rivalry, Kate needs to look outside the kitchen to find true happiness. A master chef, Kate, lives her life like she runs the kitchen at upscale 22 Bleecker Restaurant in Manhattan--with a no-nonsense intensity that both captivates and intimidates everyone around her.
Now, before we get into the nitty-gritty of how you can watch 'No Reservations' right now, here are some particulars about the Warner Bros. Make no mistake: No Reservations is a factory-sealed romantic comedy. Kate has long since vowed never to marry or have children, so this is an awkward fit. But do not be fooled by the trailer; this isn't merely a cute contest of kitchen wits. Stuart Dryburgh's autumnal cinematography makes all the food look good, the stars as well, and minimalist composer Philip Glass, of all people, provided the unobtrusive soundtrack dominated by Puccini, Verdi, and Flotow arias.