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Movie Review

No Reservations

MPAA Rating: PG for some sensuality and language

Reviewed by: Maggie Hays
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults, Family
Genre:
Romance, Comedy, Remake
Length:
1 hr. 42 min.
Year of Release:
2007
USA Release:
July 27, 2007 (wide)
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

Food and cooks in the Bible

Featuring: Catherine Zeta-Jones (“Chicago,” “Ocean’s Twelve,” “The Terminal”), Aaron Eckhart (“Paycheck,” “Thank You for Smoking,” “The Black Dahlia”), Abigail Breslin, Patricia Clarkson, Jenny Wade, Lily Rabe
Director: Scott Hicks (“Shine,” “Snow Falling on Cedars,” “Hearts in Atlantis”)
Producer: Susan Cartsonis, Bruce Berman, Sergio Aguero
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

“Life isn’t always made to order.”

Catherine Zeta Jones seems improbably cast as a super chef in this film. She has no social skills, is a workaholic, and admits the kitchen she runs is her life. Avoiding all relationships, she ends up meeting an assistant chef, hired to help her, a very likeable Aaron Eckhart. This movie is quite predictable and full of clichés. I also found it enjoyable. I just sat down, and shifted my mind into neutral and let myself be entertained. Critics seem to be panning this film, and I don’t think it deserves the bad copy it’s getting.

I allowed my 16 year-daughter to attend with me, and never cringed. The movie isn’t squeaky clean, but by today’s standards it’s quite mild. No sex, no nudity, no industrial-strength “F” words or cursing. However, be warned—the Lord’s name is profaned several times: “Oh my G__.” There are also common curse words: “Sh__” “A__hole,” etc. One time a crude word for female anatomy is uttered “T_t.” The bad language and crudity are not rampant in this film, however, and I have no trouble recommending it for Christians, as long as you know that the Lord’s Name is treated with disrespect a few times. There is also one scene of prolonged kissing, and it is implied that a man stayed overnight with a woman to whom he was not married, though no scenes of passion assault us. If my daughter had been 12 or younger, I would not have let her view this film, plus I think younger kids would be bored, this isn’t an “action movie” with caped super-heroes.

There aren’t any surprises in this film, you will know the story after the first 20 minutes or so, but it’s pretty tame and clean. I also found myself laughing out loud a few times. So, all in all, bad language kept to a minimum, clean, and no ending that you have to wrap your brain around to try to figure out.

Violence: None / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer Comments
Positive—This movie was well done and entertaining. Although it started out slow and a little depressing the pace and mood definitely picked up with the introduction of the character played by Eckhart. The writers/director did a good job of building the character played by Zeta-Jones and it transitioned into a romantic and funny movie with a happy ending! The theme of “food” is quite pronounced and I found myself wishing I could go to a good restaurant after the movie. The producers did a good job in the culinary department and those who enjoy food will enjoy that part of it. The Zeta-Jones character goes through quite a transformation from a single and very serious chef to a less serious chef who has readjusted her life priorities and opened up her heart to two special people. She learns to open up her heart and become vulnerable which we all must do in the relationships that are important to us. As a believer, I am often looking for God in a movie and unfortunately I could not find him in this one. In the death of the little girl’s mother there was no hope of ever seeing her again and the only hope given was the memories that the little girl would have of her. I know that this is a secular movie but it is a shame that the world has no hope in the resurrection. My wife and I both enjoyed this movie. It has a very predictable but happy ending!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Chris, age 45
Positive—AMAZING!!! I walked into this movie expecting to be bored, and left feeling exhilarated. I was blown away by the level of acting in this movie, especially from the little girl who played Zoe. I found myself both crying and laughing. I must say that I enjoyed ever single moment of this film. Absolutely NO bad language, some kissing, but nothing that made me want to turn my head, and a great feel-good story. Go see this movie!!!
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Tiffany, age 18
Positive—I enjoyed this movie with my 14 year old daughter. She also liked it. I felt it was realistic and the characters were not overdone. Yes, it has a happy ending and some would say it is predictable but the “How” portion is what made the movie fun and enjoyable. There was no nudity and no bedroom scenes and no offensive language. To me this was plus. The movie had sorrow and conflict but also humor and I think it is one of the best romantic comedies to come along in quite sometime. I hope this movie inspires the movie industry to make more PG films with real life situations and realize that explicit sex or partial nudity or even leading someone to the bedroom are not needed.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Cheryl Henderson, age 50
Neutral—How refreshing to see a “grown up” movie that is 100% clean, in fact I can even say it was cleaner then Disney’s animated movies. The language was totally clean. No one was even called an idiot! The first half of the movie was slower and sadder then I expected, then the second half got a little funny/happy but still slow. So, I have to say “neutral,” as I was disappointed in the movie as it was not a romantic comedy as I had thought; it was more of a drama. So with that it mind, it was so clean and at times entertaining, so I do not feel I wasted my money, just wish it had been a little more enjoyable.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Kimberly, age 41
Neutral—This film was disappointing because it was cluttered with cliches, and the plot was predictable. It was morally offensive: the little girl’s mother didn’t bother to marry the father of her child, and the aunt easily gave away her body with a casual sleep-over and pancakes the next morning. Oh, great! No strings attached, no commitments-just lots of good food and easy sex! And a little girl left wondering, 'Is Nick coming back?' Why should he? Just “play family” for a few hours because it feels good, and then leave, because THAT feels good. For a “feel good” movie, I left, feeling quite badly.
My Ratings: Offensive / 2½
—Mrs B Miller, age 55
Positive—I thought this movie overall was great! It was a sweet, clean romantic comedy. My only objections would be the use of some language I would not have thought would be in a PG movie. Also a kissing scene that went way too long for a PG movie. Other than those two aspects, I thought the movie was interesting and had some great laughs. I can’t wait to buy it!!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4½
—Terri, age 23
Neutral—I had been looking forward to this movie for over a month, however, 'No Reservations'—did not come close to meeting my expectations!! All the good parts were already shown in the preview. You’re not missing anything if you skip this one. A huge let down, IMO. Sure, “some” cute parts, but overall, it has as much drama and sadness (if not far more!) than comedy any time the focus was on the niece and what she was going thru' with the loss of her mother and how the main character was dealing with it, too. Don’t know why they would label it a “romantic COMEDY.” I was expecting chuckles throughout the entire movie and it just wasn’t that way at all! So I was really let down. And of course, the “casual sex” as already mentioned by another reviewer—the orphaned little girl did not have a father (they never knew WHO he was), and the fling with the main character and her new boyfriend… casual sex all the way (which, btw, regardless of how “popular,” is STILL an abomination before God!!) Guess we should expect as much in today’s current romances though. The language—I caught only one time, but still enough to greatly offend me!! One case of God’s name being used in vain by another employee who was standing in the restaurant freezer practicing her lines for a play, but it was stated VERY loudly. Hey, I’m not prude, I’ve been around the block a few times myself, and I can take almost any kind of language EXCEPT taking of God’s name in vain, which I find MOST offensive (even if it is just “lines” of a play). And if you count, “oh my God” to be offensive as well, then there was more than just one instance. The therapist whom Kate sees—if I’m not mistaken, seemed I saw a “Buddha” statue sitting in the corner of his office. Hmm… certainly not the kind of therapist I would choose to see. Again, since I’d had the build up from the previews and had been looking forward to this one for a good month or longer, I felt truly let down.
My Ratings: Average / 3½
—Reva, age 48
Negative—I have to give a negative rating to this movie, and I can’t even give it a solid 3 for artistic achievement. It is that poorly executed. I was looking forward to it, but it simply doesn’t work, and I have to assume that it’s because of the bad script and the poor direction. There were too many themes, all going in different directions. The lead actors—Catherine Zeta Jones, Aaron Eckhart and Patricia Clarkson—are all good actors and have done well in the past. Yet here I believe they were simply terribly miscast. There was no chemistry whatsoever between Kate (Zeta-Jones) and Nick (Eckhard). Their performances were inconsistent; the acting by the supporting cast was awful. The only good characters worth noting, who made sense and were fleshed out, were Zoe, the little girl orphaned when her mother died in a car crash, played by Abigal Breslin, who seems to be a very good actress, and the psychotherapist, played quite well by Bob Balaban. The sound track was the worst I have ever heard, vacillating between dark melodrama to melodic ditties suitable for romantic comedy and then big crashing crescendos of operatic pieces, all in a most annoying way. It was all in all a boring movie. The man in front of me kept yawning loudly. My sentiments exactly. Two thumbs down for me. What a shame.
My Ratings: Average / 2½
Halyna Barannik, age 61
Neutral—“No Reservations” is a remake of a German film “Mostly Martha.” Should you have “reservations” over this film I heartily encourage you to see Martha. It is an excellent film without any innuendo, obscenities or nudity that fulfills the “romantic comedy” this film supposedly lacks. My family, ranging from age 50 to 7 were able to follow the dialogue (it is in German) and enjoy the film.
My Ratings: Average / 3
—Brook Allen, age 22
Comments from young people
Positive—I thought this movie was very good. I don’t remember hearing any bad language, and there was no nudity or anything like that. The only thing that really bothered me, was that at one point Kate, (Catherine Z.) and her boyfriend spend the night together. I know this is not uncommon in movies these days, but the reason this specifically bothered me, is that Kate’s young niece, Zoe, lives with her, and Kate is setting a bad example for her. Other than that, it was a great movie, and I recommend it. But be warned… watching all these gourmet meals being eaten and prepared—you will probably walk out of the theater very hungry. …
My Ratings: Good / 4½
—Anna, age 16
Positive—I watched this movie going in with the understanding that some of it may be objectionable because a movie review said something about an implied sexual relationship. There is nothing implied that you would realize while watching the movie! Yes, it’s evident that the guy stayed the night, but only because he comes around one AM for some company and is still in the morning. The scene shows them trying out a recipe, and the guy isn’t even wearing pajamas. (Kate is safely wearing a modest robe.) Honestly, kids won’t think twice about it, and neither did I. It doesn’t leave your imagination running.

The only things I found wrong with the movie were:
1. Zoe’s babysitter is grossly gothic and there are cigarettes on the counter when Kate comes home. There’s only one scene with the babysitter though: when she 1st comes.
2. Another waitress tells the guy chef (who’s name seems to escape me at the moment!) that, 'You’re right, sex is better with opera.' She’s a pretty young waitress who does make some other brief comments and swear words throughout the movie that could have been left out. Once the movie comes out on DVD, those parts can be easily fastforwarded.
3. Zoe does sometimes have an attitude. I hate movies where the kids are “teaching” the adults. kate doesn’t do half as bad as the movie makes it seem like. Zoe gets pretty overly upset that Kate forgot to pick her up at school, and she ends up “running away” later.
Overall, it was a pretty decent movie. There wasn’t anything too upsetting in it. There was NO implied sex scene, just a few comments. It wasn’t a boring movie, it was sweet. It wasn’t overly exciting though either, so I’d say it’s aimed at an audience 12+ even though it would be fine for kids a little younger. It would just be over their heads. Wait for this one to come out on video, but still see it.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Grace, age 14
Positive—This movie was really good. It didn’t mention anything Biblical, but there was nothing offensive. There was a bit of kissing, but that’s as far as it got. WATCH IT…
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Billy Jane, age 15
Positive—I thought this movie was very original and well-made. Not as funny as I expected but nonetheless entertaining. My mom also enjoyed it. While it isn’t exactly inappropriate for young kids, I’d recommend it for about ages 10 and up only because younger ones probably wouldn’t like it. All-in-all a great movie!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Linda, age 16
Neutral—This movie was quite good. If they hadn’t of put any of the making out and the rude language, it would have been a great movie. I did not like the way the red headed lady talked about her chest all the time. They could have left that out. All in all it was good.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3½
—Joanna Childress, age 17