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DVD Review: No Reservations
If I had just included the title in this review, most would not recognise the film that I'm talking about. By placing the photo to the right, you immediately recognise it as that "overly sickly film with that awful kid from Nim's island in it". Well, that's what I initially thought!
No Reservations is a ROM COM (that's romantic comedy for those incapable of understanding abbreviations). The obvious definition of a Rom Com then is a film that makes you laugh and has a romance element embedded in it. However, just because we have looked up a definition and just because this film claims to be a romantic comedy, does not necessarily mean we will be laughing in the aisles.
No Reservations "stars" Catherine Zeta Jones (America's Sweethearts, Entrapment), Aaron Eckhart (Thank you for Smoking, The Dark Knight) and the kid from Little Miss Sunshine and Nim's Island (Abigail Breslin). Let's put this into perspective: - Breslin (12) has 22 acting credits to her name, Eckhart (40) has 28 acting credits and Zeta-Jones (38) has 31. Now bear in mind their ages (in brackets) and decide which, do you think, is going to be the best actor in this film.
Have you made an educated decision? Good. Well, I expect if you chose Breslin, you are a very wise person indeed. This is clearly an actress going places, since her performance on this cannot be criticised. However, what can be criticised is the fact that she has TWENTY TWO acting credits to her name already! She is only twelve. She needs to get out of the studio and enjoy her childhood. Not to be a moaning minnie or anything, but Pushy parent syndrome anyone?? (I didn't say that and you can't sue me). So sad. Nevertheless, let's be brutal this child's loss (her childhood) is our gain and she does well in this movie.
The same cannot be said, however for the other two main actors in this piece. I like Eckhart, I really do. He played a stonker in Thank you for smoking. It was really very good. I have no idea what his performance as Harvey Dent (in the Dark Knight) will be, but I trust Christopher Nolan's casting choices. Therefore, the following paragraph I write with regret to say the least. The same cannot be said for Zeta-Jones. Firstly, what sort of a name is Zeta Jones? It's a bit pretentious isn't it? Its like me calling myself, Bob Gamma-Smith. Silly, pretentious and I am already biased against her. She has made some okay films, from The Mask of Zorro to....er..... The Legend of Zorro. I will feel less guilty about laying into her (in text - not literally).
These actors are missing a crucial ingredient to the mix. That is CHEMISTRY! There is absolutely no chemistry between the two leads at all! It's as if two actors (who think they're better than that) were put into a room and told "you and you now love each other.....ACT!" What sort of idiot didn't check to make sure they even like each other? You'd think this would be high up on the casting directors mind when choosing actors to play leads.
You are introduced to Zeta-Jones character in "her" restaurant kitchen and she is quietly applying the finishing touches to a meal. After this, she quietly asks her staff if they would mind hurrying up a little. Let's just point that out again: she does all this quietly. No passion, no shouting, no anger...quietly. Now don't get me wrong, it's not as if I know much about kitchens but after watching 3 seasons of Hell's kitchen, I do know a quiet kitchen is a dead one. The level of passion Zeta-Jones shows here basically continues throughout the film until it tails off into a haze of nothingness. Jones did NOT want to be in this film (clearly). She didn't seem to care that she and her co-star were being out-acted by a 12 year old.
Eckhart, however, tries his best, but is equally bored by the experience. This is such a shame. A story about a cooking obsessed angry chef who inherits a child and eventually falls in love with another chef (not so angry) is a great sounding story. In fact, it is a story that has already been told: No Reservations is a US remake of a German film: Bella Martha (or Mostly Martha, depending where you live in the world). Is this film old? NO! This subtitled film was made in 2001! Why is it then, that the studio wanted to make an identical film with different actors, when they could have re-packaged and redistributed the original?
This movie was needless, like the actors within it. The superior original had the passion and the humour missing from this one. Disappointment all round for this film then, with the only saving grace (and the one getting most of the few laughs) being Breslin. Such a shame and a waste. Needless to say that, despite the good premise, it is worthy of only a rating of 2 out of 5 Bad title, a film that is only good when you have seen every other Rom Com in the world ever...including The Wedding Planner (another awful film)