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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Hey good lookin', whatcha got cookin'?

No Reservations (2007) on IMDb

Plot Overview

barkAt the behest of picky Paula (Patricia Clarkson) owner of the tony, 22 Bleecker Restaurant, “one of the town's better chefs” Kate Armstrong (Catherine Zeta-Jones) must go in for therapy. Kate lives two blocks from the restaurant, has a fully equipped kitchen, and tries out new dishes on her therapist (Bob Balaban.) She hasn't been in a relation­ship for four years, has no friends to call on the phone, spends her free time memorizing cook books, and for relaxation does cross­word puzzles. She resembles the sales­man that business writer George Kahn describes as: Being a Two-Dimensional Man.

There is the mistake of being a “lopsided” man, a two-dimensional individual who never develops his true potential for living. He is not a whole man. His two activities are working and sustaining life. As a person, he is fast beating a path to mediocrity.

You have seen this man. He has never achieved a proper balance among work, play, love, and spiritual values. He has never gotten beyond his own narrow enclosure, even to the extent of tasting a new dish. A suggestion that he develop an avocation draws only a blank stare. He is a fractional man. (18–21)

When Kate's sister Christine (Arija Bareikis) meets an untimely demise, Kate is tasked with raising her 10-year-old orphaned daughter Zoe (Abigail Breslin.) Moving to a new city, attending a new school, and having a new guardian sends the little girl into a slump verging on the clinical condition described by novelist James Crippando:

Her daughter is now out of the hospital and back at school. She is living in her aunt's house, … in a steady state of decline.

Dr. Johansson from Sweden is the world's foremost authority on de apatiska & uppgiven­hets­syndrome. The literal trans­lation is ‘apathetic child.’—

It affects certain children [with] a global and severe loss of function, which progresses in stages, beginning with anxiousness and depressive syndromes, in particular lethargy. Stage two is stupor—

Resignation Syndrome affects children and adolescents … under­going the migration process. … Most vulnerable of all are children who have witnessed extreme violence, often against their parents. (156–8, 163–4)

street vendorKate shops at an open air market to get supplies. The fish monger rates an appreciative kiss but not the lobster man, because he hasn't “got the goods.” Kate doesn't get out to meet men, but she is hit on by her fellow tenant Sean (Brèan F. O'Byrne) and her new chef Nick Palmer (Aaron Eckhart.) One of them has got the goods; the other is merely “sweet.”


We see here the early start at earning money as recommended in the scheme of, (Prov. 30:24) “There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:” starting with, (Prov. 30:25) “The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer.” Start earning income in your youth, i.e. the summer of life. Zoe helping her mom considered it, “working in your restaurant to earn her room & board,” until she ran afoul of child labor laws. Kate learned cooking from “My mother [who] was an amazing cook.” Right after high school Nick went back­packing in Europe where he apprenticed under his girl­friend's accomplished father who owned “a little trattoria in Tuscany.”

(Prov. 30:26) “The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks.” The conies seem to follow the three guiding principles of real estate: location, location, location. Zoe now unable to haunt the restaurant at cocktail hour finagles a home Sunday cooking lesson from Nick, dressing it up like an African safari. Kate studied under Alain Passard at L'Arpègè to get that piece of paper—she already knew how to cook. Nick spent “a couple of years working in some of the best restaurants in Milan,” then came to learn from Kate rather than run his own restaurant.

(Prov. 30:27) “The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands.” Success involves having the right cohorts. Zoe had her mom and Nick. Kate had her neighbor Sean look in on Zoe while she was out. She had her therapist to comment on her dishes. She had various market vendors to be on the lookout for her specialties. She bought truffles under the table. Nick ingratiated him­self with Kate the head of the kitchen even though he was independently accepted by the upper management.

(Prov. 30:28) “The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces.” Finally one needs to take ahold of his own niche. As the therapist told Kate, “It's the recipes you create your­self that are the best.”

Production Values

” (2007) was directed by Scott Hicks. Its screen­play was written by Carol Fuchs based on Sandra Nettel­beck's screen­play for the 2001 German movie, “Mostly Martha.” It stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart, and Abigail Breslin. Zeta Jones played a choice Kate who meshed well with her counter­part Eckhart. Breslin is quite the accomplished child actor.

MPAA rated it PG for some sensuality and language. Cinema­tog­rapher Stuart Dryburgh did his best to capture some limited city­scapes and indoor settings. The back­ground music was cutesy. The food dishes looked over­priced for my palate. The cooks and servers looked like they were having fun. Nobody in the kitchen wore a hair net, not even the cook with dreads, and the sous-chef always missed his morning shave, although he was young enough to get away with it. According to Crippando, “the five o'clock shadow makes men in their twenties look sexy, after forty, homeless” (170).

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

The plot of this movie has legs, but it was lightened from its German original resulting in a lot of cheese, which was heart­felt all the same. It's quite good actually though I wouldn't call it an all-time great. It's worth the viewing though no great loss if you skip it.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: No action, no adventure. Suitability for children: Suitable for children with guidance. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Good Date Movie. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture was cited from the King James Version, Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Print.

Crippando, James. The Girl in the Glass Box. Copyright © 2019 by James Crippando, used by permission. New York: HarperCollins Pub., First edition, 2019. Print.

Kahn, George. The 36 Biggest Mistakes Salesmen Make and How to Correct Them. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1968. Print.