What's Cooking?

"OK"

What's Cooking? Review


Indian filmmaker Gurinder Chadha's feminine feast drama What's Cooking? serves up the ingredients for a potential tasty meal, but the remaining aftertaste leaves much to be desired. In the film, Chadha (Bhaji on the Beach) concocts a multi-ethnic, estrogen-driven drama that overextends itself to hysteria. The notion of profiling a broad range of distinctive, Los Angeles-based families preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday makes for an entertaining sociological premise, but Chandra's concentration on these culturally diverse women and their loved ones feels strained and contrived. She tries gallantly to fortify this film with her brand of cinematic seasoning, but the characters come off as a bunch of overdramatic caricatures going through the prototypical TV-movie-of-the-week antics. Consequently, What's Cooking? is a flavorless fable that is as hard to swallow as a piece of tough turkey.

The film's families consist of African-American, Asian, Jewish, and Hispanic protagonists, all exaggerated characters who weave in and out of hackneyed plots. From the Jewish perspective, there's the tongue-tied matriarch Seelig (Lainie Kazan) who has an annoyingly cute way of enunciating certain words. Ma Seelig is somewhat speechless when she eventually gets to meet her daughter Rachel's (Kyra Sedgwick) lesbian lover Carla (Julianna Margulies, late of television's ER). Then there's the Spanish viewpoint where an estranged couple, the Avilas (Mercedes Ruehl and Victor Rivers), are forced to reunite upon the insistence of their adult children. There's also obvious tension when Vietnamese Jimmy Nguyen (Will Yun Lee) dares to play footsies with Hispanic Gina Avilas (Isidra Vega). And the black family the Williamses (headed up by Alfre Woodard and Dennis Haysbert) has issues as well.

What's Cooking? is aimlessly festive and its heart is in the right place. Unfortunately, what is not so appetizing is that it tries to invoke so much melodrama it becomes unwatchable. The screenplay is woefully unpolished as the characters seem to stagger through the material, designed to tell us about female empowerment, with food a metaphor for independence. It's convoluted but warm-hearted, with all the drippiness of an overflowing bowl of watery gravy.



What's Cooking?

Facts and Figures

Run time: 109 mins

In Theaters: Friday 31st August 2001

Box Office USA: $0.7M

Distributed by: Trimark Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 52%
Fresh: 34 Rotten: 32

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Trinh Nguyen, as Elizabeth 'Lizzy' Avila, as Javier Avila, as Anthony 'Tony' Avila

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.