In a sea of romantic comedies that never seem to vary in any way, No Reservations stands out simply because the actors in the film make it so gosh darn adorable. While the film is built around a tragedy, the resulting romance between two people who hate each other, no matter how redundant and how much of a tried-and-true formula this situation is, the relationships built because of it make for a highly enjoyable and cute film that is one of few romantic comedies I could actually see myself watching more than once.
Kate (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is a chef in one of New York’s most upscale restaurants and her completely obsessive nature in the field led her to angering more than a few of its patrons every time someone complained about her food. Ordered to see a psychiatrist by her therapist, Kate OCD in the kitchen never seemed to calm down until an unfortunate incident caused her world to slide to a crawl. When a visit from her sister and niece resulted in a car accident and the death of her sister, Kate was forced to take care of a niece, Zoe (Abigail Breslin), she hardly knows. With the help of an Italian chef named Nick (Aaron Eckhart), Kate is able to get closer to Zoe as well as open a relationship with Nick.
Now I’ll freely admit I went into the film expecting it to be another typical and lacking romantic comedy, but I was pleasantly surprised by it on more than one occasion. Zeta-Jones pulls a remarkably complex character with Kate and although you know she’s going to end up with Nick, it’s still a delight to watch. Seeing Breslin in another role was great as well and I’m sure that we’ll only see her in more after her big debut in last years Little Miss Sunshine.
Quite honestly to dissect a film like No Reservations would be a discredit to it. On the surface it’s just about a woman who has trouble opening up in relationships and she eventually finds love in more than one place. If you try to dig any deeper than that I’m afraid you’ll find little to ponder about. No Reservations is a movie to be taken at face value and nothing more.
So with so little to think about and absorb, you may wonder what exactly you could find appealing about the title. Well, quite simply…it makes you feel good at the end. It’s a sappy sweet story, sure…but like I said in the opening paragraph it’s just too damn adorable to pass up. While I’m sure people will roll their eyes at the adaptation of a foreign film into American cinemas and view it as blasphemy, No Reservations is just a short, quaint film that you can watch and feel good about the world. It’s a happy movie for the most part and something that’ll lift your spirits. Recommended.
No Reservations arrives in a no frills DVD release, coming in a standard amaray case with only a single disc. Inside is disc art that mirrors the cover with no insert. The menu for the DVD is static with music over the main menu only. The film sports a pristine transfer in both wide and full screen variants. The included 5.1 surround mix is mostly front focused due to the film not exactly warranting a full on surround mix. Accompanying is a 5.1 French and Spanish mix as well.
For this release we have only one extra and that comes in the form of the Food TV show “Unwrapped.” This specific episode revolves around the production of No Reservations, so it’s essentially the making-of documentary for the disc. It’s a nice, twenty-two minute piece that has cast and crew interviews, as well as some funny stories about the time Zeta-Jones and Eckhart spent on set. If you missed it during its original airing, then it’s here for you to enjoy.
No commentary, trailer or any other extras are on the disc…just the wide and full screen transfers and the “Unwrapped” special. Not much, but for a good chunk of the audience, it will definitely be enough. Unlike the film, this DVD only gets a Rental recommendation—you may want to own it, but considering the only thing of value on the disc is the film itself, you may want to hold off to see if you enjoy it enough to add it to your collection.
No Reservations arrives on DVD and Blu-Ray on February 12th and on HD-DVD on March 4th.