One of my earliest memories as a kid was how stunning Catherine Zeta-Jones was in The Mask of Zorro. Years later, I watched her in Entrapment, Chicago, Traffic, America’s Sweethearts, Ocean’s Twelve, and Feud. For some reason, I missed No Reservations all this time, though it also starred another actor I liked, Aaron Eckhart. Tonight, however, after spending long minutes going through my Netflix choices, I finally decided to watch it.
My verdict? If it weren’t for that cheesy kiss near the end of the movie, I would unreservedly recommend it to anyone looking for some light viewing. It is by no means Ms Zeta-Jones’s finest work, but the film has enough heartbreak, hope, and charm to entertain.
Kate Armstrong (Zeta-Jones) is the head chef of a posh restaurant -- driven, intimidating, without much of a personal life. When Kate’s sister died in an accident, she was left to care for her nine-year-old niece Zoe (Abigail Breslin, this movie’s strongest performer). While Kate had to take time off work, her boss hired a new sous chef, the charming Nick Palmer (Eckhart).
After having experienced office work for a few years now, I rolled my eyes at Nick chilling at work while Kate had to remain focused; I have personally experienced the reality of how much harder women have to work to get even a fraction of the credit men do. If Kate had been as chill as Nick, would she have achieved what she achieved at her age? I doubt it. But Nick was Kate’s equal, Nick understood her and, most importantly, Nick was able to help Kate reach young Zoe, who continued to struggle with the loss of her Mom for most of the film.
So, yes, No Reservations is not that light, but I also like how pain grounded the movie. This is one of the better romantic comedies I have seen lately.