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Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 18.92%
Just Average40.54%
Pretty Crappy: 24.32%
Sucks: 16.22%

5 reviews, 7 user ratings

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No Reservations
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by Jack Sommersby

"Unctuous Even For the Undemanding"
1 stars

For a really decent Valentine's Day screening, try the underpraised 'Music and Lyrics'.

Excepting an early supporting role in the surfer flick Blue Juice several years ago, Catherine Zeta-Jones has remained one of the most impersonal actresses ever to disgrace the silver screen. Possessive of smugness and self-adoration, she's so overly mannered that you're always aware of watching her rather than her character, which is even more a serious liability in a starring role, which the puerile romantic comedy No Reservations unfortunately affords her. She plays the head chef of an upscale Manhattan restaurant who gets up early to buy quality seafood at the docks, runs her kitchen with martinet control, and gets more than the slightest bit peeved if a customer dare complains about her cooking. With a nonexistent social life (in the dreadful scenes with her psychiatrist, we're told she hasn't had a date in years but not on earth why) she's brought up short when her sister dies in a car accident and is stuck trying to raise her young niece with no experience and a late-night work schedule. Further complicating matters is equally-talented chef Aaron Eckhart who's been hired to pick up the slack that her tardiness and absences are ringing up. Of course, she's initially resistant to his effortless charm but is soon (you got it!) won over by it as her freeze-dried heart starts to melt. Now, predictability isn't necessarily the worst thing in the cinematic world if there's some genuine feeling and conviction in both the story and characters, but neither has not so much as an iota here. The screenplay is the most synthetic of blueprints with such a high degree of poor dialogue and obvious situations that it makes those noxious Nora Ephron travesties seem positively Shakespearean. Not helping matters is dire director Scott Hicks, who douses the proceedings with the same heavy-handedness that helped wreck his Shine and Snow Falling On Cedars. I don't know what Hicks should be doing for a living, but this certainly isn't one of them, as is further evidenced by the gag-reflex musical montages on nauseous display. The film is bereft of tempo and agility in the juxtaposing, and even the appealing Eckhart, who lacks any chemistry with his co-star, seems uncomfortable with the material from the get-go -- it's as if a revenge-seeking agent booked him into this joint as some form of retribution. Still, a halfway-appealing thespian might've cushioned things a bit, but emotionally and erotically Zeta-Jones is a zero. There's potential for humor when her character is aghast over the mere thought of serving her hard-to-please niece fish sticks, but she can't bring it off (comic timing is as alien to her as scruples to an Enron exec); and when she's supposed to be glowing with long-denied love, she's virtually impenetrable and as rigid as an overdosed Botox patient. In the end, not even a master animator like Ralph Bakshi could succeed in getting anything remotely resembling vibrancy out of her.

Like the limited Nicole Kidman, Zeta-Jones married a top well-respected movie star which surely figured into her undeserved Oscar win.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=16400&reviewer=327
originally posted: 08/12/09 14:08:16
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User Comments

10/08/17 Jamie Review spot on-Patricia Clarkson s/haved starred, jones/eckhart miscast,empty,emotionless 2 stars
1/15/09 Shaun Wallner Great story! 3 stars
1/13/09 Anonymous. enjoyable but nothing memorable. :P 3 stars
3/17/08 Shelley Smith Pedestrian at best. Watch the original film. 2 stars
3/01/08 Nanci Torres this was okay, you can wait for the dvd 3 stars
7/30/07 Chris Cama Cathren is georgous but since we all know shes married it didnt seem to attract me. the mov 2 stars
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  27-Jul-2007 (PG)
  DVD: 12-Feb-2008

  31-Aug-2007 (PG)


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