Monday, June 6, 2011

On DVD: James Hacking's LOVE'S KITCHEN: sweet paint-by-numbers rom-com-cookery

Anyone looking for a new rom-com-cum-food movie, consider your search ended, for LOVE'S KITCHEN, the new film from writer/
director James Hacking, fills the bill just fine. If you're not overly picky, that is, and are happy to relax in the comfort of your own home -- as this one is going straight to DVD.

With a semi-starry cast led by Claire Forlani (above, right -- has it really been 15 years since Basquiat?) and Dougray Scott (above, left: ten years since Enigma?), with fine support from Simon Callow (at borttom), Cherie Lunghi and Lee Boardman (two photos below), the movie initially seems awfully hackneyed but once the initial "tragedy" is dispensed with, things begin to bounce along pretty well.

A lot of help can be provided a novice filmmaker (this is the first "full-lengther" from Mr. Hacking, shown at right) by a seasoned and professional cast, and the troupe on-call here does a yeoman job. Scott and Forlani spar and connect with style and grace, and Callow provides a lot of fun with his rendition of a sloshed restaurant critic. Boardman is good as the second-in-charge, Lunghi makes a fine, no-nonsense mom for Forlani, and Holly Gibbs is cute and sweet as Scott's young daughter.

Only the presence of chef Gordon Ramsay seems faintly ridiculous. Yes, he's famous, I guess, but he adds almost nothing to the movie except a couple of walks-ons. Yet his name adorns the poster and DVD box. Ah, well, marketing...

On the plus side, connoisseurs can cream over the various food creations on display, while the sense of slightly old-fashioned, if not musty, small-town Brit life is captured -- not realis-tically, mind you, but well enough for a sit-com like this. Just when you're thinking, "Enough, already!" and reach for the remote, some little moment will make you laugh or smile, and you'll stick with it awhile longer. Then you're at the "She's left for the airport!" moment, and since the film is only 91 minutes, it's suddenly over and you're sated. More or less.

I realize that this is not a "money" review, but it'll have to do until the next soft-core, food-porn film is upon us. Love's Kitchen comes to DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, June 7, via Screen Media Films, for sale or rental.

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