No Reservations (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Kate Armstrong (Catherine Zeta-Jones) lives to cook. She doesn’t just love to cook, her life literally revolves around the kitchen at the restaurant she works in. She spends countless hours in the kitchen there, fine tuning recipes, overseeing her co-workers, and of course, meeting with customers. But her personal life isn’t as fruitful, she seems to prefer to go in to work even on her days off, rather than pursue other social interests. Her work has even mandated that she spend time with a therapist, perhaps to help her balance out her life a little more. When her sister is killed in a car accident, Kate is given custody of her niece, an event that threatens to turn her entire world upside down. While Kate is off work for a mandatory leave of absence, a new sous chef is hired, one that is free spirited and clashes with Kate’s style. As her life faces these changes and more, can Kate meet the new lifestyle head on, or will she collapse under the pressure?

I didn’t like No Reservations, but the movie had some solid potential. I’ve seen countless movies weave comedy and drama with great results, but here the filmmakers can’t find the proper balance. The movie begins as a downbeat drama with a tragic twist, but then we’re whisked into a standard romantic comedy world, with no real transition. The road from tragedy to comedy can be taken, but it takes skill and in No Reservations, the leap is made with no preparation. So we have two halves that don’t mesh and in truth, neither stands out as memorable. I found No Reservations to be depressing, as the first part has a dark tone, then we’re buried under tons of cliches and plot holes. I do think Catherine Zeta-Jones shows moments of spark here, but the rest of the cast is underused and this one just never gets a foothold. No Reservations is simply not a good movie and as such, its hard to even recommend a rental, especially with such a mediocre presentation.

Video: How does it look?

No Reservations is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen. This looks better than the standard release, but simply doesn’t measure up to other high definition transfers. I saw a few scenes that stood out as three dimensional, but for the most part, detail is average and depth is unimpressive. The colors look bright and fine, while contrast is passable and fairly consistent, but nothing stands out as memorable here. In the end, this does look decent and offers a clearer picture than the DVD, but No Reservations doesn’t look as good as a new release should.

Audio: How does it sound?

I was a little surprised to find only a Dolby Digital 5.1 option included, but the soundtrack is decent enough. I didn’t expect much from this track, but given the hectic kitchen atmosphere, I expected some solid presence. Instead, the surrounds aren’t active that much and even the most frantic scenes lack punch. The music sounds fine, but so much more presence could have been had here, instead we’re left with a basic, unimpressive soundtrack. The vocals sound good however, so at least none of the dialogue is lost in the shuffle. This disc also includes French and Spanish language tracks, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The two extras provided are both Food Network shows with stars of No Reservations as special guests. Emeril Live finds the stars trying to cook up dishes seen in the movie, while Unwrapped has both the stars and the real chefs responsible for the film’s food. I wasn’t too taken with either piece, but for Food Network fans, they’re welcome inclusions.

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