No Reservations is the kind of gentle romantic comedy / learning to live life to the fullest story that comes out of Hollywood every generation or so. About twenty years ago it was Baby Boom this year it is No Reservations featuring the stellar Catherine Zeta-Jones in the role of a chef who's all consuming passion is of course cooking.
Chef Kate – the famous and feared chef of 22 Bleeker – is caught off guard when her sister is killed in a car accident on her way into the city for a visit. Kate's sister is survived by her daughter to whom Kate has been named tutor in her sister's will. Into her ordered life of mirror finished hardwood floors, immaculate kitchen and spotless aprons comes the 9 year old (straight from Central Casting's too cute for words department) who contains in her soul the wisdom of the ages. Moviegoers who are not fond of predictable movies probably don't go to see romantic comedies in the first place. The whole point of the romantic comedy is that boy meets girl (or vice versa), they find each other difficult (or insert other description) then finally end up in each others arms. Frequently the end result is the product of the influence of a child (Baby Boom, Sleepless in Seattle) as is the case here.
In No Reservations Aaron Eckhart plays a sous-chef of Italian training who comes into the decidedly French kitchen of Chef Kate. His exuberance, love of opera and desire to make everything fun is at odds with Kate's regimented and disciplined routine in her kitchen. Anyone who has worked in a professional kitchen will marvel at the spotless white aprons – even at the end of the night – line cooks who don't break a sweat and waiters who aren't clashing with each other so they can take care of their tables first. This is not cinema verity though it is a romantic comedy and the world is clean, fresh, mistakes are small and easily corrected and life is beautiful. No Reservations is a gentle, predictable and enjoyable family friendly romantic comedy.