No Reservations

Rated 3.0

A high-strung gourmet chef (Catherine Zeta-Jones) finds her life in turmoil when she becomes guardian to her young niece (Abigail Breslin), and a new chef (Aaron Eckhart) comes to work at her restaurant. Based on the 2002 Italian-German film Bella Martha, this U.S. version is an unabashed feel-good star vehicle, with a cozily predictable script by Carol Fuchs. Fortunately, it has exactly the right stars: Zeta-Jones, Eckhart and Breslin radiate enough warmth (and from the adults, sex appeal) to make the familiar story a pleasant trip. Scott Hicks’ direction is professional and unobtrusive, and cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh gives the film a friendly, appetizing glow (in every sense of the phrase). It’s virtually a three-character film, but Patricia Clarkson gives solid support as the harried restaurateur.