Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Today's Special Movie Review

Today's Special opens up in theaters around the US tomorrow. I got a chance to see a preview of it a few months ago at the International Food Blogger Conference and found it to be utterly charming, funny, and a bit of a tearjerker at times. You may recognize the lead actor Aasif Mandvi from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. You will certainly recognize cookbook author and actress, Madhur Jaffrey. She's great in the role of the mother of the central character, a chef in the midst of professional and personal crises.

I don't want to give away too many of the details, but the movie is about a chef, Samir, who impulsively quits his job, is pressed into service at his family's restaurant, finds his cooking mojo and of course, the approach to food is really an approach to life. I was disappointed that the filmmaker did not accept Madhur Jaffrey's offer to help with the food scenes, because some of them lack authenticity. It's a shame, because in every other way this film is such a pleasure.

The story is completely predictable and formulaic, but with a film this enjoyable, who cares? Sure, it includes many cliches of dating and family strife but somehow there is a sweetness that tugs at your heartstrings anyway. The supporting cast of veteran Indian actors are just a joy to watch, especially Naseeruddin Shah, who was in Monsoon Wedding. You don't have to be Indian to appreciate the culture clashes and modern drama that the lead character finds himself in; the story has a universal appeal. Overall it is sweet, romantic, sentimental and will make you want to go out for Indian food, so plan accordingly.