No Reservations

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
No Reservations Movie Poster Image
Bland-but-sweet dramedy more for adult palates.
  • PG
  • 2007
  • 103 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 16 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Kate learns that having personal connections is even more important than her thriving career.

Violence

No violence, but there's a disturbing scene of a bruised Zoe on a hospital bed.

Sex

Kate and Nick kiss passionately, and he spends the night, but there's no actual love scene. Paula flirts with Nick; Bernadette mentions a customer who keeps staring at her breasts and later thanks Nick for suggesting she listen to Pavarotti during sex.

Language

Just the out-of-place words "asshole" and "tits."

Consumerism

Croc clogs, the board game Operation

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Diners drink wine at the restaurant and the waiters discuss wine selections at their staff meetings. Kate gets tipsy after a wine-filled dinner with Nick.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this romantic comedy has some serious themes, like the death of a single parent and an aunt who must care for her orphaned niece. Although it's rated PG and stars popular child actress Abigail Breslin, the film's protagonist, an emotionally withdrawn chef who doesn't have any healthy relationships, is not going to seem compelling to most kids. The dramedy also perpetuates the idea that ambitious, professionally successful women all have lonely personal lives. Still, at its heart, this is the typical odd-couple romantic movie with a little girl thrown in to stir the pot.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBoiseNoise April 9, 2008
My husband and I really enjoyed this movie, but I'm glad we didn't take our nine-year-old daughter. I'm not sure she would have found it interes... Continue reading
Adult Written bycommon_sense_user_12 April 9, 2008

No Reservations

So rarely to I find a movie that makes me laugh, cry, and hunger for more. But I found all of these qualities in No Reservations. I loved every moment from star... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old September 27, 2009

B-O-R-I-N-G!

One word. B-O-R-I-N-G! This movie is EXACTLY like any other romantic comedy and is really pointless and a waste of time! Why did I even see this movie?
Teen, 14 years old Written bydicapriofreak94 September 13, 2010
Barely any swearing, just one scene of slight sexual content. This was a very sweet, romantic movie.

What's the story?

In NO RESERVATIONS, type-A chef Kate (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is all business and the talk of Manhattan. But at home, Kate's a mess. Her sister unexpectedly dies, and suddenly Kate's the guardian of her young niece Zoe (Abigail Breslin). Kate's so clueless she tries to feed Zoe a whole steamed fish -- whole fish, with head and milky eye intact -- instead of the fish sticks the girl would prefer. But soon enough Nick (Aaron Eckhart), with his Italian flair for cranking up arias and making the kitchen staff sing along, wins over Zoe with a plate of good ole spaghetti marinara. With Zoe playing Cupid, she hooks her aunt up, and the odd-couple chefs start rubbing off on each other -- he becomes more ambitious and she more laid back.

Is it any good?

There's romance in No Reservations, but not the kind you would expect from a Hollywood romantic comedy. The emotional connection between Kate and the cuisine she artfully creates is entertaining and satisfying. But Kate's slow-but-predictable relationship with the restaurant's carefree new sous chef Nick is less exciting than watching the many close-ups of haute cuisine. These may be attractive Hollywood actors, but they lack convincing chemistry.

Although director Scott Hicks couldn't coax a magical spark out of his leads, he does a fine job of showing how food, especially beautifully prepared food, can be a sensuous delight. And while the movie's lesson -- about letting your hair down once in a while to go with the flow -- is trite, it's also familiar and sweet.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the difference between personal and professional success. How was Kate successful in one way but not the other? What did her kitchen employees think of her, and how did they react to Nick's work style? What did Zoe and Kate learn from each other?

Movie details

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