No Reservations is a 2007 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Scott Hicks. Starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart and Abigail Breslin, the screenplay by Carol Fuchs is an adaptation of an original script by Sandra Nettelbeck, which served as the basis for the 2001 German film Mostly Martha, and revolves around a hard-edged chef whose life is turned upside down when she decides to take in her young niece following a tragic accident that killed her sister. Patricia Clarkson, Bob Balaban and Jenny Wade co-star, with Brian F. O'Byrne, Lily Rabe and Zoe Kravitz—appearing in her first feature film—playing supporting roles.
The film received a mixed reception by critics, who found it “predictable and too melancholy for the genre”, resulting into an 41% overall approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Upon its opening release on July 27, 2007 in the United States and Canada, No Reservations became a moderate commercial success: The film grossed $12 million in its opening weekend, eventually grossing over $43 million at the domestic box-office and over $92 million worldwide. Breslin was nominated for a Young Artist Awards for her performance.
- Directed by: Scott Hicks
- Produced by: Kerry Heysen, Sergio Aguero
- Written by: Carol Fuchs, Sandra Nettelbeck
- Starring: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart, Abigail Breslin, Patricia Clackson, Bob Balaban
- Music by: Philip Glass
- Cinematography: Stuart Dryburgh
- Edited by: Pip Karmel
- Country: U.S.A.
- Language: English
- Running time: 104 minutes
- Budget: $28 million
- Box Office: $93 million
- Release date: July 27, 2007
- Distributed by: Warner Bros.
Kate Armstrong (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is the head chef at the trendy 22 Bleecker Street Restaurant in Manhattan, New York, and one of the bests chefs of New York.
She is obsessed with the kitchen, with the preparation and presentation of the dishes, and she's an exaggerated perfectionist. Her therapist (Bob Balaban) can see this during their sessions. Kate's boss Paula (Patricia Clarkson) says she will fire Kate unless she goes to theraphy, so when Kate goes to theraphy she can't stop talking about dishes and cooking. In a session, her therapist asks her why she thinks she needs therapy but Kate is obvlibious about her obssesion.
Kate is the best at her work. She runs her kitchen at a rapid pace as she coordinates the making and preparation of all the fantastic meals, and personally displays the food to perfection on every dish. She intimidates everyone around her, Kate hates to leave the kitchen when a customer wants to compliment her on one of her special dishes, however she is ready to leave the kitchen in an instant when a customer insults her cooking.
But personally Kate has no life since her whole world is centered on the kitchen.
When Kate's sister is killed in a car accident, Kate's nine-year old niece, Zoe (Abigalil Breslin), must move in to live with her, as it was Kate's sister wishes if something happened to her. Kate is devastated by her sister's death and with all of her problems, Paula decides to give Kate a week off.
During this time, Paula hires a new sous chef to join the staff, Nick Palmer (Aaron Eckhart), who is a rising star in his own right and could be the head chef of any restaurant he pleased. Nick, however, wanted to
work under Kate since he's an admirer of her work. Kate meets him while one of her visits at the restaurant.
When Kate returns to work, the atmosphere in the kitchen is somewhat chaotic as Kate feels increasingly threatened by Nick as time went on due to his style of running her kitchen. Nick has an uplifting personality , he loves to listen to opera while he cooks and he loves to make the staff laugh. Nick also flits persistently with Kate and Kate finds herself strangely attracted to Nick.
Nick's uplifting personality has not only affected Kate but Zoe as well, who has been coming to work with Kate.
One afternoon Nick comes to Kate's home and he and Zoe cook for Kate. That was the wish Zoe makes to Kate (since Kate promises she can ask her a wish to amend what Kate has done wrong for Zoe in the last days).
Kate and Nick fall in love.
Yet life hits her hard when Paula decides to offer Nick the job of head chef and Kate's relationship with Nick turns a sour note due to Kate's pride.
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. The movie concludes with Zoe, Nick and Kate having opened their own bistro.
- Catherine Zeta-Jones - Kate Armstrong
- Aaron Eckhart - Nicholas "Nick" Palmer
- Abiagail Breslin - Zoe
- Patricia Clarkson - Paula
- Bob Balaban - Therapist
- Jenny Wade - Leah Scott
The film soundtrack makes extensive use of operatic music, and includes (uncredited) Liz Phair's song "Count On My Love".
|1. Truffles And Quail - Conrad Pope|
|2. Sway - Michael Buble|
|3. Celeste Aida - Luciano Pavarotti|
|4. O Mio Babbino Caro - Renata Tebaldi|
|5. Zoe & Kate Watch Video - Phillip Glass|
|6. Libiamo Libiamo - Joan Sutherland|
|7. Via Con Me - Paolo Conte|
|8. La Donna E 'Mobile - Joseph Calleja|
|9. Un Bel Di 'Vedremo - Renata Tebaldi|
|10. Zoe Goes To the Restaurant - Phillip Glass|
|11. Cielo E Mar - Luciano Pavarotti|
|12. Mambo Gelato - Ray Gelato|
|13. Nessun Dorma - Luciano Pavarotti|
|14. Count On My Love - Liz Phair|
- Rotten Tomatoes, an aggregate of reviews from published critics, showed only 41% reviewed it favorably.
- Matt Zoller Seitz of The New York Times said, "What's unexpected and gratifying ... is the film's enlightened attitude toward parenthood and work, which the movie's publicity campaign conspicuously glosses over, even though it’s the story's driving force ... Make no mistake: No Reservations is a factory-sealed romantic comedy ... 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."
- Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times stated, "The movie is focused on two kinds of chemistry: of the kitchen, and of the heart. The kitchen works better, with shots of luscious-looking food, arranged like organic still lifes. But chemistry among Nick, Kate and Zoe is curiously lacking, except when we sense some fondness—not really love—between Zoe and her potential new dad ... the characters seem to feel more passion for food than for each other."
- Carina Chocano of the Los Angeles Times called the film "one of those movies that presents life precisely and meticulously as it isn't, presumably as some kind of consolation for how it really is" and added, "With its simplistic compartmentalization of dueling personality types, kindergarten view of grown-up love, exquisite styling, overripe camera moves and lousy, overwrought score, the movie feels stubbornly, resolutely disingenuous and one-dimensional. Everything in it is designed to make you feel better, so why does it feel artificial and palliative in that really depressing way?"
- Todd McCarthy of Variety observed, "Agreeably prepared and attractively presented, this remake of the tasty 2001 German feature Mostly Martha bears too many earmarks of Hollywood packaging and emotional button-pushing, but doesn't go far wrong by closely sticking to the original's smart story construction ... Scott Hicks' work cuts both ways, creating a warm cocoon that fosters engagement with the well-drawn characters while at the same time steering the material in softer-than-necessary directions and refraining from peeking any deeper into the main characters to suggest what makes them tick. Without question, Ratatouille deals more profoundly with the personality makeup and urges of a driven chef-as-artist than does this genial divertissement."
No Reservations was released in 2,425 theaters in the US on July 27, 2007 and earned $11,704,357 and ranked fifth on its opening weekend. The film eventually grossed $43,107,979 in the US and $49,493,071 in foreign markets for a total worldwide box office of $92,601,050.
Awards and nominations
Abigail Breslin was nominated for the Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film by a Leading Young Actress for her performance as Zoe.