Once upon a time, a spice known as CZJ—indigenous to Mumbles, Wales—emanated a delicious aroma of the Old Hollywood star trajectory: hoofer past, lavish wedding to a Tinseltown scion with a bad habit, endless lawsuits against tabloids. Whether added to Zorro movies, Entrapment, Chicago or T-Mobile ads, CZJ could always be relied upon to zest things up.
But in this fatally bland star vehicle, CZJ is piquant no more. Based on Mostly Martha, the 2001 German diversion, No Reservations has Welsh Spice playing control freak, awkward maternal figure, insecure suitor—and queen bee in the kitchen of a Bleecker Street bistro. Chef’s whites are not this extravagant diva’s color. Nothing in No Reservations (directed by Shine’s Scott Hicks and written by first-timer Carol Fuchs) allows the actor to bare her fangs à la Joan Crawford as the pie-baking Mildred Pierce. In fact, nothing that comes out of the actor’s mouth sounds even passably like authentic speech. Worse, CZJ and slab of meat Aaron Eckhart exhibit no chemistry (only Little Miss Sunshine registers as a plausible sentient being). But there’s hope: CZJ has been busy lately dismissing rumors that she washes her hair with caviar. If she wanted to save her career, she’d keep mum.
Cast and crew