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No Reservations (film)

No Reservations is a 2007 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Scott Hicks. Starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart, and Abigail Breslin, the screenplay by Carol Fuchs is an adaptation of an original script by Sandra Nettelbeck, which served as the basis for the 2001 German film Mostly Martha, and revolves around a hard-edged chef whose life is turned upside down when she decides to take in her young niece following a tragic accident that killed her sister. Patricia Clarkson, Bob Balaban, and Jenny Wade co-star, with Brían F. O'Byrne, Lily Rabe, and Zoë Kravitz—appearing in her first feature film—playing supporting roles.

No Reservations
No reservations.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byScott Hicks
Produced byKerry Heysen
Sergio Aguero
Written byCarol Fuchs
Sandra Nettelbeck
StarringCatherine Zeta-Jones
Aaron Eckhart
Abigail Breslin
Patricia Clarkson
Music byPhilip Glass
CinematographyStuart Dryburgh
Edited byPip Karmel
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
July 27, 2007 (2007-07-27)
Running time
104 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$28 million
Box office$92.6 million[1]

The film received a mixed reception by critics, who found it "predictable and too melancholy for the genre", resulting in a 41% overall approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Upon its opening release on July 27, 2007, in the United States and Canada, No Reservations became a moderate commercial success: The film grossed $12 million in its opening weekend, eventually grossing over $43 million at the domestic box-office and over $92 million worldwide. Breslin was nominated for a Young Artist Award for her performance.


Kate Armstrong is the head chef at the trendy 22 Bleecker Street Restaurant in Manhattan’s West Village. She runs her kitchen at a rapid pace as she coordinates the making and preparation of all the fantastic meals, and personally displays the food to perfection on every dish. She intimidates everyone around her, including her boss Paula, who sends her to therapy. Kate hates to leave the kitchen when a customer wants to compliment her on one of her special dishes; however, she is ready to leave the kitchen in an instant when a customer insults her cooking.

When Kate's sister Christine is killed in a car accident, her nine-year-old niece, Zoe, must move in with her. Kate is devastated by her sister's death and with all of her problems, Paula decides to hire a new sous chef to join the staff, Nick Palmer, who is a rising star in his own right and could be the head chef of any restaurant he pleased. Nick, however, wants to work under Kate. The atmosphere in the kitchen is somewhat chaotic as Kate feels increasingly threatened by Nick as time goes on due to his style of running her kitchen. Nick loves to listen to opera while he cooks and he loves to make the staff laugh. And Kate finds herself strangely attracted to Nick, whose uplifting personality has not only affected her staff but Zoe as well, who has been coming to work with Kate.

With all that is happening in Kate's life, the last thing she would want is to fall in love with this man, as she has pushed away all others prior. Nevertheless, there is some kind of chemistry between the two of them that only flourishes with their passion for cooking. Yet life hits her hard when Paula decides to offer Nick the job of head chef and Kate's relationship with Nick turns a sour note due to Kate's pride. Nick also develops a special bond with Zoe.

In the end, Kate allows herself to become vulnerable and tear down the walls she has built throughout her life so that she and Nick could start fresh. The movie concludes with Zoe, Nick, and Kate having opened their own bistro.



The film soundtrack makes extensive use of operatic music, and includes Liz Phair's song "Count On My Love".[2] Filming took place in New York in 2006-7.


Critical receptionEdit

Rotten Tomatoes, an aggregator of reviews from published critics, showed that 42% of them reviewed it favorably based on 160 reviews, with an average rating of 5.2/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "This romantic comedy may look good on paper, but it's too predictable and melancholy for the genre."[3] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 50 out of 100 based on 33 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[4]

Matt Zoller Seitz of The New York Times said, "What's unexpected and gratifying ... is the film's enlightened attitude toward parenthood and work, which the movie's publicity campaign conspicuously glosses over, even though it's the story's driving force ... Make no mistake: No Reservations is a factory-sealed romantic comedy ... But the emotional details of Kate, Nick and Zoe's journey are surprising, honest and life-size, and the film's determination to present their predicament sympathetically, without appealing to retrograde ideals of femininity and motherhood, makes it notable, and in some ways unique."[5] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times stated, "The movie is focused on two kinds of chemistry: of the kitchen, and of the heart. The kitchen works better, with shots of luscious-looking food, arranged like organic still lifes. But chemistry among Nick, Kate and Zoe is curiously lacking, except when we sense some fondness—not really love—between Zoe and her potential new dad ... the characters seem to feel more passion for food than for each other."[6] Carina Chocano of the Los Angeles Times called the film "one of those movies that presents life precisely and meticulously as it isn't, presumably as some kind of consolation for how it really is" and added, "With its simplistic compartmentalization of dueling personality types, kindergarten view of grown-up love, exquisite styling, overripe camera moves and lousy, overwrought score, the movie feels stubbornly, resolutely disingenuous and one-dimensional. Everything in it is designed to make you feel better, so why does it feel artificial and palliative in that really depressing way?"[7] Todd McCarthy of Variety observed, "Agreeably prepared and attractively presented, this remake of the tasty 2001 German feature Mostly Martha bears too many earmarks of Hollywood packaging and emotional button-pushing, but doesn't go far wrong by closely sticking to the original's smart story construction ... Scott Hicks' work cuts both ways, creating a warm cocoon that fosters engagement with the well-drawn characters while at the same time steering the material in softer-than-necessary directions and refraining from peeking any deeper into the main characters to suggest what makes them tick. Without question, Ratatouille deals more profoundly with the personality makeup and urges of a driven chef-as-artist than does this genial divertissement."[8]

Box officeEdit

No Reservations was released in 2,425 theaters in the US on July 27, 2007, and earned $11,704,357 and ranked fifth on its opening weekend. The film eventually grossed $43,107,979 in the US and $49,493,071 in foreign markets for a total worldwide box office of $92,601,050.[1]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Abigail Breslin was nominated for the Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film by a Leading Young Actress for her performance as Zoe.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b No Reservations at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ Salazar, David (December 6, 2018). "Opera Meets Film: How Puccini / Verdi Bridge Gap Between Catherine Zeta-Jones & Aaron Eckhart in 'No Reservations'". Opera Wire. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  3. ^ "No Reservations (2007)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  4. ^ "No Reservations Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  5. ^ Seitz, Matt Zoller (July 27, 2007). "If You Can't Stand the Analysis of Work and Parenthood, Get Out of the Kitchen". The New York Times. p. E8.
  6. ^ "No Reservations Movie Review & Film Summary (2007) - Roger Ebert". Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  7. ^ Chocano, Carina (July 27, 2007). "What's missing from this recipe?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  8. ^ "No Reservations". Variety. July 22, 2007.

External linksEdit