No Reservations, Review
2007, ***1/3, Romantic Comedy-Drama
Catherine Zeta-Jones ("Intolerable Cruelty," "Traffic") stars with Aaron Eckhart ("Thank You For Smoking," "Thursday") and Abigail Breslin ("Signs," "Little Miss Sunshine," "The Ultimate Gift") in this moving romantic-comedy-drama about a chef at a famous New York City Italian Cuisine Restaurant who takes care of her niece, after her sister dies in a car accident. In the heat of her life (literately-in the kitchen) she finds out the heartbreaking news.
Life still continues in "No Reservations," even if it seems like the world must stop to grieve. Preparing 5 star meals (that look too good to disturb the plate) helps the main characters in this one to tolerate the loss of a loved one. The main character Kate (Zeta-Jones) in this film has two hardships: letting people in to her life, and dealing with change-but doesn't everyone have something? I think this is a great film for all.
Kate (Zeta-Jones) is a chef-a-holic at a top-notch restaurant. Instantly she is named guardian of Zoe (Breslin), her niece. Zeta-Jones does a good job with her role as Kate, and is convincing enough in her role as a self-sufficient and strong willed personality. The connection she had with her sister wasn't completely clear, but we do know her sister and niece we're on their way to visit in the very beginning of the film.
At work, Kate's boss quickly replaces her during her absence. The "replacement," Alex (Eckhart) is witty, sarcastic, pushes all her buttons, and even sings some Opera (not very good of course). Eckhart provides more of a relaxed atmosphere, and helps tone down the drama in the film, compared to Zeta-Jones high-strung character. He is very charismatic-and reminds me of a more rugged version of Jon Bon Jovi, in some scenes-because of his hair and dark tan suede looking pants and a denim button-down collared shirt (not a bad thing to be reminded of).
Young star on the rise, Abigail Breslin is excellent, as the niece of Zeta-Jones. She's gone from "There's a monster outside my window, can I have a glass of water?" to films of even greater substance. She stands out in dramatic roles (check out, "The Ultimate Gift"). Her portrayal of Zoe makes this film come to life. The film would be very bland without her.
I must also note-this film is unique because it shows the concept of an "instant family"-the connection between the characters in the story moves rather quickly, and leaves the viewer with a good feeling.
This one is worth checking out. Reserve a spot on your calendar!